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Blue Angel (2000)

by Francine Prose

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9542816,939 (3.32)21
The National Book Award Finalist from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Francine Prose--now the major motion picture Submission   "Screamingly funny ... Blue Angel culminates in a sexual harassment hearing that rivals the Salem witch trials." --USA Today   It has been years since Swenson, a professor in a New England creative writing program, has published a novel. It's been even longer since any of his students have shown promise. Enter Angela Argo, a pierced, tattooed student with a rare talent for writing. Angela is just the thing Swenson needs. And, better yet, she wants his help. But, as we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. . . . Deliciously risqué, Blue Angel is a withering take on today's academic mores and a scathing tale that vividly shows what can happen when academic politics collides with political correctness.… (more)
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English (27)  German (1)  All languages (28)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Blue Angel is nearly as mind-bendingly disturbing and impossible to put down as Gone Girl, but so much better. The small-scale drama of Professor Ted Swenson's dalliance with student Angela Argo at Vermont's Euston College resonates with all sorts of layered meanings, and goes down like a delicious milkshake spiked with ground-up glass. Francine Prose leaves no doubt that Angela is a fascinating sociopath, but she casts a much wider net than that. While leaving the reliability of Ted's perspective on the story a hanging question, Prose pokes wry fun at the mores of modern academia, and questions its (and our) assumptions about the balance of power in relationships and what constitutes a victim, while sprinkling plenty of titillating breadcrumbs on her trail. I deduct a half a star (which isn't possible on Goodreads, so a full star) for some overly predictable plot twists towards the end. ( )
  CaitlinMcC | Jul 11, 2021 |
The novel Blue Angel by Francine Prose is a contemporary novel whose plot and tone are loosely based on the 1930 Marlene Dietrich tragicomedic German film, The Blue Angel. Its hapless protagonist is Ted Swenson, a creative writing professor at Euston, a small, second-tier, liberal arts college in Vermont. He's also published a successful semi-autobiographical novel, Blue Angel, and has been unproductively working on another one for years. But writer's block is the least of Swenson's problems. From an outside perspective, he seems to have it pretty good, a secure tenured position, a loving wife who he remains attracted to, a country home, a middle-class life. But at 47, he's bored and annoyed by his untalented students, loathes all but one of his professorial colleagues, seems not particularly suited to life in the New England boondocks and is otherwise ripe for a self-destructive mid-life crisis. Enter Angela Argo, a skinny, awkward, leather-clad and pierced, punkish student who can actually write. And the theme of her novel - yes you've got it - a liaison between a high school student and her teacher. Prose's strength is the humor she brings to describing the pretensions of academia, political correctness, and gender politics, and the fun she pokes at students and professors alike. But underneath the winks and nods and satire, is a sad and cautionary tale of self-destruction and confusion. As in Shakespeare, the line between tragedy and comedy is indeed thin. ( )
  OccassionalRead | Jan 24, 2021 |
It was difficult to complete. I really found it smarmy. How did it get so many awards? I was very disappointed. Predictable and poorly written! ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
The main character is not likable at all. The story was bland: typical story about a middle aged man going through his midlife crisis, sleeping with a younger woman, losing the respect of his wife and child, etc. I wouldn't recommend this book. I gave it 2 stars, because there were a few good one-liners, but that's about it. ( )
  Sareene | Oct 22, 2016 |
2.5 stars.
The professor thinks he has a good marriage but he lives in a fantasy world where women all adore him and listen attentively to his pearls of wisdom. When he succumbs to the temptation of a talented young student (Angela) his life quickly spirals out of control. I liked the way the author used so many writing styles so effectively. (I learned more about the art of writing.) But I found the book as a whole disappointing. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Before this novel of academic manners descends into a dark parody of the Salem witchhunt, it is very funny. If I have any criticism of this excellent novel, it is with the last section. Though written with sharpness and grace, the ending is too neat for the novel's complex social comedy, too grim for its playfulness.
added by unknown_zoso05 | editThe Independent (Jul 7, 2001)
 
I trust I'm not spoiling anything for you if I reveal that a book called "Blue Angel" is about the young and heartless seducing the old and foolish. The erotic energy of the situation (writing as seduction and power trip, reading as willing submission) keeps "Blue Angel" hurtling ahead for perhaps its first half. And then, surprisingly, it becomes bleak and almost plodding.
 
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Swenson waits for his students to complete their private rituals, adjusting zippers and caps, arranging the pens and notebooks so painstakingly chosen to express their tender young selves, the fidgety ballets that signal their weekly submission and reaffirm the social compact to be stuck in this room for an hour without real food or TV.
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The National Book Award Finalist from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Francine Prose--now the major motion picture Submission   "Screamingly funny ... Blue Angel culminates in a sexual harassment hearing that rivals the Salem witch trials." --USA Today   It has been years since Swenson, a professor in a New England creative writing program, has published a novel. It's been even longer since any of his students have shown promise. Enter Angela Argo, a pierced, tattooed student with a rare talent for writing. Angela is just the thing Swenson needs. And, better yet, she wants his help. But, as we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. . . . Deliciously risqué, Blue Angel is a withering take on today's academic mores and a scathing tale that vividly shows what can happen when academic politics collides with political correctness.

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