Cover image for Terrible angel : a novel of Michael Collins in New York
Terrible angel : a novel of Michael Collins in New York
McEvoy, Dermot.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Guilford, Conn. : Lyons Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
284 pages ; 24 cm
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Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Library
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In this intriguing work, an Irish hero seeks redemption on the streets of NewYork 70 years after his death.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The great tradition of Irish-American literature welcomes a bright new light with this stunning first novel. Michael Collins is, of course, the Irish revolutionary/terrorist who created the IRA and negotiated the peace treaty with the British that gave rise to the Irish Free State; in 1922, only 31 but already head of state, Collins was killed by rebel forces. In this colorful, suspenseful and moving reimagination by McEvoy, a PW contributing editor, Collins awakens in Heaven after 70 years in Purgatory to be handed a task that will determine his soul's final fate: God, with Michael the Archangel as his intermediary, orders Collins to go to Manhattan to spring from behind bars one Martin Twomey, falsely accused of terrorism and about to be extradited to Britain to stand trial; the hitch is that Collins must not use violence to free Twomey. In New York, Collins makes contact with several IRA sympathizers, confronts several enemies-most notably a corrupt NYPD detective and the sadistic head of MI-5's Belfast Division-and taking inspiration from a common street scam, hatches a clever plan. McEvoy's meticulous depictions of the city's neighborhoods and characters reveal a deep knowledge and love of Gotham, and provide strong grounding for the story's fantastic elements; the salty, witty dialogue expertly sparks the narrative as it surges toward its satisfying conclusion. Most impressive is the author's rich portrayal of Collins, here neither saint nor devil but a flawed, good man struggling to do right without resorting to bloodshed. In Collins's heartfelt, necessarily brief affair with a Jewish bartender, McEvoy captures the poignancy of human temporality; he evokes, in a voice as fresh as sea spray, the indomitable romance of the Irish spirit. (Oct.) Forecast: Strong reviews, stirring cover art and blurbs from Frank McCourt, Pete Hamill and other luminaries are sure to bring significant attention to this novel. The story sings out for screen adaptation. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In August 1922, Michael Collins, chairman of the Provisional Government and commander in chief of the Irish Free State Army, was assassinated. Seventy years later, newly liberated from purgatory and at the door of heaven, he's told that he has to atone for his violent acts by freeing an innocent Irishman from a lockup by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in New York. Provided that the reader accepts this premise, is willing to maintain a continuous suspension of disbelief (accepting angels and miraculous events in sometimes awkward juxtaposition with many realistic details), and doesn't mind the meshing of past and present (usually deftly handled), McEvoy's debut is an intriguing tapestry-part recollection of New York in 1914 (during an imagined visit of Collins to the city), part 20th-century Irish history, and part suspense novel. It's the latter that provides the scaffolding for a group of stereotypical New York City characters out to help or hinder the protagonist, including bartenders (male and female), detectives (good and bad), a homeless woman, and the gay chief of MI-5's Belfast Division. A novel of some potential; order where subject matter is of interest to patrons.-Ronnie H. Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.