Elizabeth Taylor’s novel Angel is about a writer and thus meets the requirements of this month’s 12 in 12 Challenge theme of books about words, books and writing.
The heroine of the novel is Angel who grows up the child of a small shop owner in a market town. Angel’s life is too small for her so she invents stories about a more extravagant and dramatic life mostly based around the local large house where her aunt works as a servant. When her lies are found out Angel retreats into her own world and writes the novel that she would like to read which perhaps depicts the life she would like to live. She becomes totally engrossed in her imaginary world and although her book is appalling it is wildly popular and starts Angel on a very successful career at the age of fifteen.
Angel can indulge herself and she does. She tries to create the world she wants to live in and succeeds only by becoming oblivious to other people and ignoring them if they do not totally agree with her. She mistreats others, becomes amazingly sensitive to criticism and buys the company, if not the love, of her husband. It is obvious that Angel should know that she is a laughing stock, that people dislike her and that her husband is cheating but she cannot allow these things to becomes real to her so she lives a life of fantasy eventually ending up with little money, living in a decaying house and without friends.
This is a slight but interesting book. Angel is, to others, a monster. She has to be the centre of attention and she will not listen carefully to what she is being told. She has an image of herself as a successful writer who is greatly loved and she cannot let it go but in becoming so self-obsessed she loses all those who might have cared for her.
I am pretty sure that not all writers are like this but the author gives a sad picture of anyone who becomes obsessed in order to avoid facing reality.