Air and Angels

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Air and Angels
First edition
Author Susan Hill
Cover artist Robert Mason[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Publisher Sinclair Stevenson
Publication date
25 Mar 1991
Media type Print, audio & ebook
Pages 288
ISBN 1-85619-052-8

Air and Angels, is a novel by English author Susan Hill, first published in 1991 by Sinclair Stevenson and since republished by Vintage Books in 1999 who have also made it available as an ebook.[2] It is said to contain some of her finest writing[3]

Plot introduction[edit]

The first half of the book comprises two separate narratives in set in Edwardian[4] India and Cambridge.

In Cambridge the Revd Thomas Cavendish, a celibate and irreproachable university don in his mid-fities appears destined to become master of the college. He lives with his sister and is a confirmed batchelor, spurning the attentions of his sister's friend Florence who is determined to wed him. His enthusiasm is birds; spending his leisure time either on the Fens birdwatching, or in his indoor aviary.

In India, 15-year-old Kitty is becoming bored with ex-colonial life, and at the same time repelled by the poverty she sees nearby; and longs to return to the England she left as a young child. Eventually her parents relenting and after a long sea voyage she arrives at her cousin Florence's house in Cambridge.

The second half of the book concerns Thomas Cavendish's growing obsession with Kitty after he sees her from his window, as she stands on a bridge over the river. Through his contacts with Florence he becomes her tutor with disastrous results...

Style and Reception[edit]

According to The Guardian, the 'highly stylised Air and Angels differs from her earlier novels in being 'more psychologically focussed, more poetically written', Christopher Wordsworth wrote "Mundane precision has no great priority with this author, but with so many emotions at large some firm moorings might have helped."[5]

Publication history[edit]



  1. ^ Air & Angels by Hill, Susan: Sinclair-Stevenson, London 9781856190527 Hard Cover, First Edition - Krokodile Books Retrieved 2011-07-17.
  2. ^ Retrieved 2011-07-11.
  3. ^ page 287 of Good Fiction Guide ed. Jane Rogers, 2nd edition published 2005 by OUP
  4. ^ page 141 of Good Reading Guide ed. Nick Rennison, 6th edition published 2003 by Bloomsbury
  5. ^ Susan Hill, Cotswold chameleon | Books, by Hadley Freeman, The Guardian, Saturday 18 October 2003
  6. ^ Retrieved 2012-11-18.