Time has already stopped for Stephen Griffin when he moves into the little house by the sea. Twenty-eight years old and haunted by death, the tall, awkward, shy schoolteacher is Content to care for his father in Dublin and let life pass him by.
Then a miracle appears: a string ensemble from Venice and, with it, a violinist named Gabriella Castoldi. Even though the worldly, beautiful musician seems incapable of giving her heart, love seizes Stephen Griffin ... unbidden and shaking every particle of his spirit.
Stephen's ailing father sees it and fears for his naive son. Nelly Grant, the green-grocer, predicted it and welcomes its sheer joy. Moses Mooney, the blind musician, has sensed its coming. None, however, can envision the depth and consequence of this union. For Gabriella will change not only Stephen's life but, in the deepest sense, the lives of everyone around them.
"As It Is In Heaven" evokes the magical essence of romance and its miraculous ability to grace even the darkest lifewith light. Splendidly crafted and charged with poignancy, it firmly establishes Niall Williams as a master storyteller in the grand tradition of Irish literature.
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It seems right that the lovers in Niall Williams's As It Is in Heaven hail from Italy and Ireland, those sentimental favorites among nations. Williams won kudos and laurels, fans and fame for his first novel, Four Letters of Love, and his second finds him once again illuminating a simple love affair with his own special brand of fine and even brave mawkishness. Dubliner Stephen Griffin, though possessed of a "thin and long" body, is stunted emotionally by the loss of his mother and sister in a tragic car wreck. That is, until one evening he ends up at a tiny concert hall in County Clare, listening to the Venetian beauty Gabriella Castoldi play the violin. Williams writes with fairy-tale breathlessness of the audience: "The room was balmy with delight. And when the people sat again for the slow and romantic melancholy of the Puccini, they were pillowed on a deep and heartfelt gladness.... Stephen looked at the woman whose name he did not yet know and his heart raced." Such mauvish passages abound. Here is an author who never met a bold pronouncement on the subject of Love that he didn't, well, Love. At one point, for instance, Stephen "heard the victory of Love over Death." What makes Williams's writing work--to the degree that it does work--is the way his fuzzy, myopic generalizations are coupled with keen observation: "Stephen danced like a man who had been given wooden legs. They flew out in sharp angles and measured air like a pair of pincers." A stack of suitcases is "an Italian hilltown." At its best, this gentle magical realism reads like Mark Helprin without the irony. And like Helprin, Williams is in thrall to the glamour of geography. Stephen and Gabriella pursue each other through Clare and Kerry to Venice and back. The course of true love never did run smooth, but the bumps here prove none too discouraging. --Claire DedererFrom the Back Cover:
A man content to let life pass him by, schoolteacher Stephen Griffin is about to experience a miracle. For a string quartet from Venice has arrived in County Clare and, with it, worldly and beautiful violinist Gabriella Castoldi, who inspires love in the awkward Stephen. Although the town's blind musician senses its coming, the greengrocer welcomes its sheer joy, and Stephen's ailing father fears its power, none could have foreseen how the magical force of passion would change not only Stephen's life but, in the most profound and startling ways, the lives of everyone around them. A tale of dreams, life, and love, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN affirms the acclaimed author of Four Letters of Love as one of today's master storytellers.
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Descripción Picador Books, 1999. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0330392387