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Finding hope in creation

Cover of Angelo
A review of Angelo by David Macaulay

David Macauley, a celebrated illustrator of non-fiction books such as Cathedral and The Way Things Work, applies his knack for drawing complex structures in this gorgeous, heart-wrenching celebration of an aging plasterer, Angelo. 

The story follows Angelo as he restores the facade of a massive cathedral and reluctantly befriends a wounded pigeon named Sylvia. Angelo's declining health makes for a melancholy tone, but Sylvia's lighthearted antics and the warm, chaotic illustrations of Italian vistas give the story an incredible range. 

By the time Angelo's worries came to a head and his final touch on the cathedral was revealed, I was overwhelmed in so many ways. Overwhelmed by a lonely man finding something to live for, by the catharsis of seeing a life's work finished, and by my incredible love for pigeons. In some ways Angelo reminds me of my mom, an aging artist from Korea who has shown nothing but resilience as she pursued her craft in an often cold and unfriendly country. With just as much appeal for adults as for kids, this book is for anyone who has yearned to create or anyone who has needed a friend.

--reviewed by Darvin

Dec 8, 2023