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A Better Angel: Stories af Chris Adrian

A Better Angel: Stories (original 2008; udgave 2009)

af Chris Adrian

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
18420140,708 (3.81)14
A dazzlingly original short-story collection full of humour, darkness and love - from one of America's most brilliant writers.
Titel:A Better Angel: Stories
Forfattere:Chris Adrian
Info:Picador (2009), Edition: 1, Paperback, 240 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Nøgleord:Realistically Magical

Work Information

A Better Angel: Stories af Chris Adrian (2008)


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» Se også 14 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 22 (næste | vis alle)
Really well written, but heartbreaking. Not for those with weak stomachs!! Stab was my favorite. ( )
  Andy5185 | Jul 9, 2023 |
Recommended on Thursday. Bought Thursday night. Read on Sunday, finished on Monday.
Done and dusted. A new author to follow.

I’m always especially intrigued by books written by physicians, envying them their overachieving capabilities. And look at the author photo on the back flap of the dust jacket. Such boyish good looks, such Mid-West clean-scrubbed open face and twinkling eyes. But his aw-shucks smile looks a bit sheepish. Perhaps because he can almost hear the reader’s disbelieving comment, “Wow, how can such a normal looking guy, a kid’s doc, write such twisted dark stuff!” And he’s a divinity student?!? No way! Just shows to go you, you never can tell…..

The first story, “High Speeds”, was the warning shot. The main character was, in his words, “in fourth grade and fucked up.” And he is. And so are those in the rest of the book. Seriously fucked up and often badly twisted.

“Stab” was the most powerful, a series of intense violent jabs that almost leaves you breathless at the end. It is tenderness in violence as healing.

“A Better Angel” was one of the best, about a bad drug-addicted doc who, overseen by his guardian angel, returns home to look after his dying father. It was funny, it was sad, it was pathetic, it was very human, and the angel can’t do much about that. The idea of an angel hanging around, pointing out prognostic info about people, was great. The doc can’t figure out what his angel has against the young children of his drug pusher, but “she has always done that, pointed out the ones that will grow into car thieves or lottery-fixers or murderers, as if I am supposed to smother them with the great pillow of righteous prevention when they are six months old.” No one is spared in the world of these short stories, certainly not doctors, and not even saintly hospice workers and child play therapists. Some of those bits are wickedly funny, as in this bit about his dying father’s hospice worker:
“ ‘You have to be ready at any time to have the conversation,’ Janie Finn told me, meaning the conversation where you sorted everything out and said your goodbyes, and the dying person sorted everything out and lost all their regrets. “You talk about things and then you let go,’ she said, making an expansive gesture with her hands, as if she were setting free a bunch of doves or balloons. It was just the sort of thing that hospice people always say, and it’s because they say things like this that I think they should all be put slowly to death, half of them ministering to the others as they expire by deadly injection, having their conversations and dwindling, half by half, until there are only two, and then one, and a little midget comes in and shoots the last one in the face.”
My favourite was “A Child’s Book of Sickness and Death”. The main character is a teenage girl with a chronic gut syndrome who has had to be hospitalised many times over her life, and she is a hardened veteran of the system. And this combined with teenage-dom becomes a toxic mix of cynicism and venomous humour. The ‘cuteness’ of a kid is a currency that has to be used when you have it, and it has to work very hard. “It must extend itself to cover horrors — ostomies and scars and flipper-hands and harelips and agenesis of the eyeballs—“ The ‘tremendous faculty of cuteness generated from some organ deep within’ must cover the extra fingers, the bald spots, the yellow eyes, the bitter, nose-tickling odor of urine. She notes the areas of the kids’ hospital that are always replenished with new toys and new decor, because they get noticed by the rich people. “The nicest rooms are those that once were occupied by a privileged child with a fatal syndrome.”

Not a book for the squeamish, this is about as black as it gets. ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
This is my favorite work by Chris Adrian. I like short stories, and this book was superbly written, and great for adults, although many of the characters were children and teens. I read this, loaned it to a friend, and they lost it. I loved it enough to buy another hard copy of it. One of my favorite stories was Why Antichrist? If you just read one story in this collection, start with that one.

Gisele Walko- author of Wolf Girl finds necRomance ( )
  gwalko | Oct 25, 2015 |
This book is a perfect example for why I don't care for short stories: I read the first story, was overwhelmed with excitement at its dark, disturbing sadness, got extremely excited, and read the entire bunch in one sitting. One of two things usually happens to me when I read so many short stories in one go: either I become annoyed because they were good and I wanted more or I am annoyed because they were bad and would have been better if they were novels. Whichever the reaction, I'm also usually glutted & grumpy from consuming so many plots in a short period of time. Basically, any low short story score is probably my inability to read properly rather than the fault of the book.

I can't remember which reaction tempered my score of this book. In retrospect, I have thought of it often, and not with negativity. Adrian is extremely dark, and I remember being unable to decide if it was gratuitous or not. He's an author to admire rather than love--I was curious about reading more of him even before he made the infamous "20 under 40" New Yorker list. He's certainly brave, and unconventional, and disturbing. All of this makes it hard to tell if he's actually good or not. ( )
  aliceunderskies | Apr 1, 2013 |
Oh my god, I have found the modern day, male Flannery O'Connor! Dark, disturbing tone? The grotesque? Religious themes? Check, check, and check. With Adrian though, we have medicine instead of the South.
The man is a freaking genius. Seriously, go read his bio - it's insane.

I loved every single story in this collection and I can't wait to read The Children's Hospital. ( )
  cait815 | Apr 1, 2013 |
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A dazzlingly original short-story collection full of humour, darkness and love - from one of America's most brilliant writers.

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