Tag Archives: angels

Daydreams of Angels: Stories by Heather O’Neill

Daydreams of Angels by Heather O'Neill Title: Daydreams of Angels: Stories Author: Heather O’Neill
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 978-0374280420
Genre: Short Stories, Literary
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

Stories, stories and more stories is what should also majorly be a part of life. What else is there to life but that? “Daydreams of Angels” was my seventh read this year and as the other reads, this one also did not disappoint. Keeping my tradition of fairy tales and the surreal and sublime, this one followed close on the heels of “A Wild Swan and other tales”.

This is a weird bunch of short stories – of angels, monsters, of animals and children – just that they aren’t set in the age old world but in the world where we live and are a part of us all. The stories are brilliantly thought of and written. I remember talking about “Sting like a bee” which was extremely surreal and hit the spot.

Most stories are just like that – they manage to engulf you and take you to another world. The other thing that I felt or did not feel was that these stories were too childish or whimsical for me as an adult. In fact, most of them make a lot of pertinent points under the layers of being just stories. O’Neill’s strength is in her declarative sentences – she just announces what is happening and is not afraid of showing all her cards to the readers. To a very large extent, this kind of writing always works with me.

There is a story of Pooh Bear writing an apology letter to Piglet, who has been kidnapped. Then there is the tale of Violet who escapes her stepfather who lusts after her in “The Saddest Chorus Girl in the World” and she also thinks it is sad when you fall in love with someone. This is so much like Great Expectations minus the stepfather.

Some of the metaphors and images in this book are completely heartbreaking. As a reader, I could not get more of them and just wanted to re-read some of the stories. In my opinion, if a book manages to do that, then the author has just hit the nail on the head with her narrative and style.

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Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

Firstly you should know this book took me f-o-r-e-v-e-r to read. This is shocking to me. I am a very fast reader and for this size book I would normally have read about two to four hours tops. I knew when I was ten hours in that, that the book was unusual. The blurb describing the book gives you the story already. I won’t re-hash. The concept of Angels and humans having offspring is certainly intriguing. The intersection of myth, religion, and fantasy caught my eye and I simply had to read this one.

As I started reading I found myself getting quite bogged down in the amount of detail the author provides for seemingly mundane things — like floors, or walls, unimportant people and locations. In fact so much detail I felt as if I was drowning in it. I had a hard time keeping focused on the story as I was often disoriented. It felt like four words were used where one would suffice. E.G. I could describe the convent to someone so well they could likely find it on a boat ride down the Hudson. Yet I couldn’t say much about how the angelology society could remain secret for so long and how it could co-exist in our world or even how people could be drawn to it or find out about it. There doesn’t seem to be the equivalent of a magical letter dropped off by an owl for any of these angelologists. I wanted to know more about this aspect.


Slowness in reading is not necessarily bad–just makes for longer reading sessions. Not a problem if the book holds my interest and this one did-at times. I was absorbed by the idea that there could be this evil shadow in our world–moving among us unseen and unknown but for a few staunch defenders of humanity, themselves flawed and conflicted.

Unfortunately I felt that this whole world of Angelology (which is sort of similar to the wizarding world in Harry Potter in that there is something humans don’t know of that lives either with them or adjacent to them) just wasn’t that plausible. That left me treating it like more of a fantasy novel and less like a dual-worlds novel. To be honest I was looking forward to it being more of a world inside our own type. In a way it almost read similar to a political conspiracy thriller–the idea that there is a group of people (or things) controlling the rest of us.

Many of the characters seemed lackluster, as if they were wooden and lifeless. Some of their motivations were unclear which I found confusing. There was certainly enough space to expound on the motives of more of the characters but often you get just a glimpse and then the window is closed and the blinds pulled. Oddly unsatisfying but curiosity inducing. In spite of all this the overall concept still kept me intrigued but sometimes I literally had to force myself to keep reading.

I felt like I was trying to sift through facts and descriptive text to find that nugget that imparted knowledge and wisdom and propelled the story forward. Flatly I didn’t really like any of the characters that much — they didn’t inspire much in me at all. The villain? Not really villainous. The heroine? Bland and uninspiring. You get the picture.

I will say that it did pick up about three quarters of the way and by the end I was reading much faster–far more engaged. The last 50 pages or so moved very quickly- at a pace that kept your interest and got rid of some of the superfluous wording seen earlier in the book.

Although the ending was not as satisfying as I had hoped it did pull up my review rating. There was a twist that I had considered earlier on and discarded–kudos to the author for that. Even though it was cringe worthy it was certainly plot worthy in my opinion.

Overall I’m still kind of confused about how I feel about this book. I guess I would say I was sort of absorbed in it in spite of some pretty significant shortcomings. The reason that I couldn’t give it 5 stars was two-fold: that I didn’t find myself enamored of any of the characters enough to be super invested in them (except Verlaine who I mostly found oddly appealing although consistently strange) and because the world lacked some level of believability. Although rich it was distant.

Although seemingly well described it was bereft somehow of strong attachment or feeling. Of the type where when things happen you don’t say wow you just keep reading. After completion I don’t think I’d want to be part of this world and maybe we aren’t meant to–it is a far darker tale then I normally read and enjoy.

Angelology; Trussoni, Danielle; Viking Adult; $27.95