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Winner of the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize (Mexico)
Winner of the Prix France Culture (France)
Newly translated into English by Dolores M. Koch, The Angel of Galilea [Dulce compañia], is a sublimely original story of love, faith, poverty, and mystery.
Mona, a Colombian journalist once idealistic and determined to better the world, has been reduced to recounting the vapid pronouncements of newly crowned beauty queens for the tabloid journal that employs her. When her editor sends her to investigate reported sightings of an angel in a barrio on the outskirts of Bogotá, it's just another day's work. The angel craze has arrived late from America, and true to Colombian fashion she will now be expected to "warm up another topic already cold in the U.S."
When she arrives in the flooded poorest-of-the-poor barrio of Galilea, she finds the residents in passionate conflict over a strange but beautiful young man. Magnificent, overwhelming, enigmatic, and possessing an undeniable sexual magnetism, he is revered by some as an angel and denounced by others, including the local priest, as an infernal impostor. Mona reads the story of this "angel without a name" in tattered journals transcribed by his mother and communes silently with him in the moonlight, falling deeply, passionately in love with him. Risking all, she commits herself to saving him from the forces that would destroy him.
This silent, powerful angel, left out of the official heavenly host, personifies for the outcast, impoverished residents of Galilea their faith and hope. For Mona he is the avatar of a mystery she abandoned in childhood and, in a single, passionate, intimate embrace, fulfills both her desire to love completely and her longing to believe.
Praise for Laura Restrepo
"Laura Restrepo breathes life into a singular amalgam of journalistic investigation and literary creation. Thus, the wretchedness and violence that nest in the heart of Colombian society are always present; but also there are her fascination with popular culture and the play of her impeccable humor, of that biting but at the same time tender irony that saves her novels from any temptation toward pathos or melodrama, and infuses them with unmistakable reading pleasures."
--Gabriel García Márquez
"This barrio angel teaches us how to see behind the appearance of things and how to embrace reality with all the senses, above all with intuition, imagination, faith, and humor."
"We should be accustomed by now to receiving most of our literary surprises from Latin Americans. The newest is Laura Restrepo. In The Angel of Galilea she compresses the colors and complexities of Latin America into the narrative investigations of a wonderfully clear-eyed and open-hearted woman reporter concerning the appearance of an angel and its tangled consequences. Restrepo is a writer to treasure."
"Surprising, wonderful, and, for me, deeply moving."