Proof of Angels: A Novel by Mary Curran Hackett (William Morrow, $14.99, 281 pages)
A Novel of Hope, Redemption, and the Gift of Angels Among Us…
“…without a few days in hell, no resurrection is possible.” Mary Karr
Mary Curran Hackett’s debut novel, Proof of Heaven, was excellent. This, her second novel, is about a fireman, Sean Magee, trapped in a burning building in Los Angeles. Magee is doomed and prepared to meet his end until an angel appears. Magee’s unable to see through the smoke but the female angel leads him to the place where he can make a blind three-story leap from the quickly collapsing building. Remarkably, Magee survives.
“He wanted to start over in a place that welcomed re-creation and self-invention…”
Magee had already lived one existence in New York City and a different type of life in Los Angeles. After being saved from a horrible death by what may be divine intervention, Magee’s finally ready to tackle the demons in his life and pursue happiness: “Everyone, Sean knew, had a demon or was once a demon… Then again, he thought, demons were nothing more than fallen angels like himself.” Will Magee’s third try at life – real life – be successful?
“Everyone’s got something that makes existing complicated.”
Yes, this is a story about redemption and it is – as was Proof of Heaven, a life-affirming one. Magee is an Everyman who wants what everybody wants, “Everybody wants to feel whole.” Without divulging too much, Magee comes to realize that what he actually wanted the most in his life was the company of a special woman; one he spurned and walked away from early on in his life. Will he be able to reunite with her?
This is a highly engaging and finely written morality tale. However, it has one enormous flaw. As the reader senses that the story will wrap up in a few dozen pages, it comes to an abrupt, disappointing ending. It’s as if someone cut the tape on a song, so that there’s no fade-out. It’s jarring, as when one listens to “She’s So Heavy” by the Beatles. So is the unexpected early conclusion of Proof of Angels.
Hackett is a highly talented writer, so one has to wonder if she got caught up in writing to a strict deadline or if she simply ran out of ideas. I suspect it was the former.
Recommended, for those willing to accept a close-to-great story that wraps up in a non-satisfyingly abrupt – and not quite realistic, manner.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
You can read a review of Proof of Heaven: A Novel by Mary Curran Hackett here: