This book of 15 short stories is for seasoned readers who enjoy the challenge of literary fiction in which grace prevails, though not quickly or easily.
For starters, I recommend taking the time to read the book's introduction by James Vanden Bosch, which saves you from having to figure out that the male "narrator" in the stories (some are written in a first-person voice; others in third person) is "various narrators" who are nonetheless "recognizable versions of one basic narrator, a young man born in Hungary, raised as a Calvinist in a largely Catholic culture, who walked more or less innocently into the destructive energies of Eastern Europe in the 1930s." Though not all of the stories have the same characters, the narrative tone started on page 1 --- when the story's main character is aged 15, in 1936 --- is consistent enough throughout the book that by the last story --- when the main character is a grandfather immigrant to Florida, in the year 2000 --- you feel the satisfaction of having finished a novel.
The stories progress more or less chronologically, from the Hungarian freedom-fighters resisting Czech annexation, through World War II and Nazi ruination, followed by the hard fist of Soviet occupation. Eventually the narration moves to England and then to Florida, always with flashbacks to the harsh setting --- the dangers, toils and snares --- of war-torn or occupied Hungary.
The most satisfying stories are the ones for which the book is named, "A Bearer of Divine Revelation" and "The Angel of His Presence."
"Bearer" sets its narrator in Austria, after the War. He remembers a many- splendored childhood in Hungary. "By the time he was twenty-one, he was far away, sitting in a tank, half mad with fear and concentrat