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The Mark of the Angel

By Nancy Huston


“You may never read a novel crafted with more wonder and mystery than Nancy Huston’s The Mark of the Angel.” — Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha.

This extraordinarily compelling novel centres on an intense, adulterous love affair between Saffie, a silent young German woman who is first maid and then wife to a famous flautist, and Andras, the Jewish flute-mender to whose little atelier she takes her husband’s flute to be mended. Their liaison doesn’t break the same taboos as The Reader but their love is ‘forbidden’ not only in the sense that it’s adulterous, but also because she always takes her baby son along in his pram, as a cover and protection. Both the German woman and the Jew have been damaged by WWII; she more traumatically and personally than he – watching her mother’s rape and branding by Russian soldiers, being raped herself, and then finding out after the war that her gentle scientist father was implicated in Nazi experiments with drug trials. Their stories unfolds in Paris at the height of the Algerian war in the 1950s, bringing the madness of war back into the present. The flute-mender, left-wing and committed, is involved on the fringes of the Algerian liberation movement in Paris. The ending is tragic and devastating, when the husband discovers the affair.

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