Xas in Venice Beach
Today i finished reading The Angel’s Cut, Elizabeth Knox’s sequel to The Vintner’s Luck. It’s good, but for me not great like the story of Sobran and Xas. Others, reviewers, disagree with me.
What i think is missing in the new book are elements of a style the first volume possesses. A style that is perhaps mostly of time and place as conjured by Knox’s ability with words: style that came from the yearly structure, from varied chapter lengths, and from France in the 1800s which lends the story a degree of unfamilar romance. Other aspects of this style are generated from the presence of the vintners and the wine-making tradition, from the meeting of paysan and noble, both earthly and celestial, and from the sheer imaginative leap of a story that tells the love affair of a man and an angel.
The new book’s setting in 1930s Hollywood should have been capable of generating a similar romance of time and place but i was disappointed; it seemed, instead, tawdry. Maybe that was the point. Yet i wanted Xas to retain his nobility whereas he increasingly tended to appear as “people”; and Lucifer should never have had to resort to the telephone. In spite of the lesser stature of the story, Knox still captured my attention and entertained me. The Angel’s Cut has many good moments because she writes so well; there is much pleasing invention and historical connection, much finely observed detail and more celestial revelation: eventful and philosophical. So it’s a good book, just not the best.
I am very grateful Elizabeth Knox introduced us to Xas; it has been a delight to be told some of his history, however my hope now is that she will be content to let him be, to go, henceforth, unrecorded.