The Dark Angels
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By François Mauriac
The Dark Angels, published in English on the eve of Mauriac winning the 1952 Nobel Prize in Literature, develops the characters of his 1930 novel What Was Lost—Alain Forcas and his sister, Tota—within a vicious web of family and extra-marital relationships. Now curé of the village, Alain is presented with the confession of Gabriel Gradere, whose life of dissipation has chained him to his mistress, Aline. Gabriel has returned to his boyhood home to cheat Desbats, his rival for the love of Mathilde. Yet Mathilde loves Gabriel’s son Andrés, who is infatuated with Tota. Emotional manipulation and the distortion of desire hangs the threat of violence over the village, and Alain is left to confront the full, perilous scope of his priestly duty. Superbly executed, The Dark Angels follows the progression of an obsession with revenge to its ultimate fate of self-destruction.
François Mauriac (1885–1970) was a French, Roman Catholic novelist, poet, critic, and journalist. Critically acclaimed and respected, Mauriac received the Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française for his novel The Desert of Love; was awarded the Grand Cross of the Légion d’honneur; and named laureate of the 1952 Nobel Prize in Literature.