Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
A Better Angel: Stories Hardcover – August 5, 2008
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The author of Gob's Grief and The Children's Hospital returns with a sublime collection of nine stories whose wide assortment of characters, many of them children, fugue around death, are plagued by remembrance of things past and are possessed by violence. In Stab, a young protagonist whose twin died, joins a little girl in a killing spree of neighborhood animals, eventually setting their sights on larger prey. A woman who tries to commit suicide in The Sum of Our Parts wanders hospital halls as an astral projection, witnessing the unexpressed desires of her friends in pathology. And a Juno-esque teen, a hospital regular with short-gut syndrome, writes an animal book of sublimated child-ward life: bunnies with high colonic ruin, cats with leukemic indecisiveness and monkeys with chronic kidney doom. The story Why Antichrist? gives us two teenagers who have each lost parents, one to 9/11 (which looms large in the collection); the devil is soon literally between the teens. With heartbreaking imagination, Adrian illuminates how people act out their grief on their own bodies and the bodies of others, and enter the world of the spirit in the process. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* As he did in The Children’s Hospital (2006), Adrian again toes a unique line between fiction writer and prophet. If that staggering novel was a diamond in the rough, these short stories can be seen as the chips and shards left by a craftsman working to uncover the full range of his prodigious skill. He returns to the themes (sickness, childhood, and revelation) that have served him so well thus far in his career—no surprise for a man who is, in addition to being a writer, a divinity student and a pediatrician. Physical and mental maladies stand in for larger ailments of the soul, and religious trappings—angels and demons, visions and possession—are beatific and horrific at the same time, impossible to untangle one from the other. Each work in this collection helps solidify Adrian’s position as one of the most exciting, inventive writers working today. The moment you feel as if you’ve discovered the meaning in his words, it slips between your fingers and leaves you unsettled, unmoored, and unmistakably impressed. --Ian Chipman
Top customer reviews
"Death be not proud, though some have called thee/Mighty and dreadfull,for thou dost overthrow..." Adrian writes life into the last moments of each story. I actually read "A Better Angel" while waiting for the cardiogram check up to tell me I'm the better for it. Maureen Howard
The stories are:
The Sum of Our Parts
The Vision of Peter Damien
A Better Angel
A Hero of Chickamauga
A Child's Book of Sickness and Death
The first thing one will notice is that a great deal of these stories deal with the aftereffects of a loved one's death--usually a brother. The characters here react absurdly, sometimes, and silently others, but their reactions always show the absurdity of life after the death of someone you love. In a situation like the death of a brother, is not insanity the most sane of reactions?
Familiar characters to Adrian's universe are present in this collection--Pickie Beecher in "The Changeling" (previously called "Promise Breaker," as published in Esquire), a boy of the Claflin family in "The Vision of Peter Damien," or the quick mention of a Fie in "High Speeds." One could choose to believe that these stories are all happening in a separate universe, but there is comfort, I think, in allowing Adrian his creation.
Fans of The Children's Hospital and especially Gob's Grief will not be disappointed, nor will anyone picking up Adrian for the first time. Be prepared, though, to become just as obsessed with his writing as his characters are with their own unhealthiness.
Most recent customer reviews
received the book on time in great condition.