The Third Angel Arrives on Tuesday April 8th, 2008.
A novel is formed in so many ways, from so many pieces of a writer's life and consciousness, but The Third Angel began in a hotel in London in the summer of 2004. My UK publisher put me up in a hotel in Knightsbridge for a book tour. It was hot that summer and the rooms were broiling. There were air-conditioners perched on stands, vented through hoses in the open window - so that the hot air continued to stream through.
That first night as I slept fitfully I heard an argument in the hall. I looked at the clock. It was ten thirty. I was jet-lagged, over-heated, exhausted. The argument went on. I got out of bed. But when I went to look I discovered my door had no peephole. I put my ear to the door. A man was shouting.
If I opened the door, I might be thrust into the middle of a vicious argument, I stood there not knowing what to do, then the voices stopped.
I went to bed.
The next day I went to an exhibit that one of the characters in the Third Angel goes to - a beautiful, heartbroken display at Kensington Palace. It was still hot, sticky, overcast.
I went to bed that night. Still not sleeping well, still jet-lagged, still thinking about love gone wrong and betrayals. At last I fell asleep. And then, the argument began. I looked at the clock. Ten. Another argument. I heard the man in the hall. Did I get up and throw open my door? Or did I stay in bed, hope for peace and quiet, finally sleep?
Who was that out in the hall? On the first night, the second night, and then again, on the third night, on every night of my stay at the hotel? I began to get used to the voice, wait for it, be lulled to sleep by it - it had come to seem normal, a regular part of the day, like breakfast or tea.
It slowly dawned on me that a loop was being replayed, again and again. It was the same argument out in the hall, unseen, but passionate. This was the beginning of the Third Angel. What happened out in the hotel hallway years earlier, what haunts us, what we can't forget even when we try, what redeems us is at the heart of the novel.
A summer night in London. A hotel where it is possible to get lost and to lose someone you love. Do you open the door or not? I didn't then, but now I do.
Welcome to the Lion Park Hotel. The doors open today.