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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


Waiting for an Angel

Helon Habila

[an overview of the reviews and critical reactions]

general information | review summaries | links | about the author

To purchase Waiting for an Angel

Title: Waiting for an Angel
Author: Helon Habila
Genre: Novel
Written: 2002
Length: 236 pages
Availability: Waiting for an Angel - US
Waiting for an Angel - UK
Waiting for an Angel - Canada
Waiting for an Angel - India
En attendant un ange - France
Angeli dannati - Italy

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Why we haven't reviewed it yet:

Don't have a copy

Chances that we will review it:

We might, eventually.

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Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Guardian . 26/10/2002 Maya Jaggi
Independent on Sunday . 31/8/2003 James Urquhart
San Francisco Chronicle B+ 2/2/2003 Dave Gilson
The Spectator A- 23/11/2002 Francis King
The Telegraph B+ 31/8/2003 David Horspool
TLS . 8/11/2002 James Copnall

  Review Consensus:

  An impressive debut

  From the Reviews:
  • "(S)ombre, gripping and at times humorous (.....) Cleverly constructed in seven parts, it deftly moves back in time from a period after military rule has ended. (...) In realist vein, the novel's artistry is manifest in the mordant strength and clarity of its language, and its compelling structure. Though the strands are satisfyingly gathered up, each section resembles a short story." - Maya Jaggi, The Guardian

  • "These unchronological chapters, the feeling of drift in the first half of this book, and Lomba's rather stilted, passionless demeanour, gradually cement into a compressed core of determination to be counted, to resist oppression. (...) Habila's well-crafted novel captures both the sense of mental unbalance of living under a dictatorship and the sacrifices, personal and public, that must be offered to chip away at its ferociously blank face." - James Urquhart, Independent on Sunday

  • "Habila's prose is clean and unself-conscious, and he switches easily from dialogues in pidgin to classical references. At times, however, he reveals a fondness for melodrama and tortured imagery. (...) At its best, Habila's writing can be stirring." - Dave Gilson, San Francisco Chronicle

  • "Reading Waiting for an Angel, I experienced the same excitement that I experienced when, way back in 1980, I came on the first book, Flowers and Shadows, of another Nigerian, Ben Okri. Habila's youthful technique now, like Okri's then, can sometimes be clumsy. But, when I finished his novel, my reaction was exactly the same as when I finished Okri's: 'What radiant promise!'" - Francis King, The Spectator

  • "Habila's first novel is an assured, honest evocation of life under the military dictatorship of Nigeria. (...) Habila brings humanity and hope to the most brutal of situations, and this graceful, sparely written novel never slips into cliché or sentimentality." - David Horspool, The Telegraph

  • "There is, however, much to admire in Habila’s writing. He skilfully evokes an atmosphere of tension and fear. (...) Habila’s novel may not offer any political solutions to the problems faced by those living under a dictatorship but it provides a powerful picture of a critical period in Nigerian history." - James Copnall, Times Literary Supplement

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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Waiting for an Angel: Reviews: Helon Habila: Other books by Helon Habila under review: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of books from and about Africa

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About the Author:

       Nigerian author Helon Habila was born in 1967.

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© 2011 the complete review

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