A Time of Angels
A novel set in Long Street, Cape Town.
Primo Verona, a professional magician and soothsayer, is born with a gift of clairvoyance so strong that he is able to predict his own mother's death while still in her womb. He is brought up on a rich diet of astronomy, philosophy and storytelling by his watchmaker father and widowed aunt, both survivors of the death camps in Auschwitz. Primo accurately reads the futures of the local Long Street community of Italians and Jews, who pay him in wads of money, honey cake, tiramisu and other delicacies.
Pasquale Benvenuto, his close friend since childhood and fellow soldier in the Angolan war, is the owner of a bar and delicatessen favoured by local businessmen and gamblers alike. Pasquale is passionate and headstrong, his culinary reputation resting on the recipes for the fruited breads and salamis his father taught him to make – a love of which he acquired while hiding from the horrors of the Holocaust. Together Primo and Pasquale form an easy friendship triangle with the beautiful Beatrice, Primo’s wife and Pasquale's former girlfriend, but when she leaves her husband for her old love, Primo is thrown into despair. He casts spells to spoil Pasquale’s creations and to win back Beatrice, but inadvertently conjures up an unexpected visitor.
A dazzling and evocative novel that mixes magical realism with the big themes – war, love, death, betrayal, and the afterlife – to hugely entertaining effect. This is indulgent storytelling at its very best.
Hardback: (UK & Commonwealth)
Published by Bantam Press
Paperback: (UK & Commonwealth)
Published by Black Swan
ISBN 0 552 77166 X
Hardback: (USA & Canada)
Published by William Morrow
Published by L'Éclose Éditions Translated by Brice Matthieussen
ISBN: 2 914963 4
Italian: Il tempo degli angeli
Translated by Flavia and Costanza
Rodotà Published by Editrice Pisani
Dutch: De smaak van vruchtenbrood
Translated by Lidy Pol
Published by Mouria 2003
ISBN 90 458 4811 2
“A tender, witty and engaging fable in which a post-apartheid Cape Town, suffused with the smells of Italian high cuisine, plays host to Lucifer.”
“A Time of Angels is like a rich tapestry, dealing with universal themes of love, war, betrayal, good and evil. In its stitching the patterns reveal gentle humour, eroticism and culinary conundrums.”
“A marvellous novel, written with style, gusto and immense charm. A delightfully dark and witty tale, peopled with lovers, Madonnas, angels, demons, epicureans and ladies of the night.”
“A fruitcake of a novel: spicy, aromatic and rich.”
“Announces the arrival of an exciting new talent, a writer capable of handling magical realism without sacrificing believability.”
“A bewitching tale... nothing short of heavenly.”
“An imaginative story, unusual, well written and marvellously evocative.”
“Dense with sensual imagery … A Time of Angels is sure to secure itself an international audience.”
“A very pleasurable book - one that will make you smile.”
“A carefully crafted story.”