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THE ANGEL MAKER by: Stephan Brijs January 25, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.

     The human body is a miracle, and life and death are mysteries, so it stands to reason that there would be a desire to control all three. The Frankenstein story is literature’s loftiest example of this fascination, but it is only one of many tales plucked from imagination and inked onto paper. The first book I would like to share from the shelves of  The Moonlit Library is a novel I read last June. THE ANGEL MAKER, written by Belgian author, Stephen Brijs, is a dark, well written character study  about Victor Hoppe, a man obsessed with his genetic experiments. The author explores the doctor’s sad past, which began with his being born with a hairlip and dumped in a mental institution by his parents. “Cared for” (if you can call it that) by nuns, he became fascinated with Jesus Christ, the man.  This combination of how science and religion molded one individual is intriguing, and the author certainly did his homework about genetics and cloning.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

     As an adult, the doctor moves to the quiet little village of Wolfheim with his infant sons, identical, disfigured triplets. As the quaint little village becomes accustom to the odd, reclusive doctor, and the hired housekeeper grows to love  the boys in her care, the doctor’s story emerges and the unusual mix of religious and medical obsessions controlling the man lead him in a peculiar direction.  The triplets in this tale are firmly molded and memorable, and the peaceful village setting is so real, a sense of quiet envelopes the reader as they lose themself in this novel.    

     This book explores not just the ethics of genetic cloning, and religion’s threat of punishment for the unjust, but how a person interprets and justifies their obsessions.  I found it highly enjoyable and unique, as did those I passed it along to. It is another mad scientist/ Dr.Frankenstein story, but one told with freshness.   I liked everything about this book and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. This would be an excellent book discussion selection because there is so much to talk about and debate. I applaud this author for creating a fine character study and for his wonderful imagination. This a great book for those who savor something truly different. It is unfortunate that Brijs’ other books have not been translated into English.

     The Lycan Librarian has decided to remain with the present theme, so the next two or three reviews will also be on books about harnessing life and death. I will go through my book journal to find more, but if you have any suggestions for books that fall into this category, please let me know.



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