A Better Angel
StoriesBook - 2008
The stories in A Better Angel describe the terrain of human suffering - illness, regret, mourning, sympathy - in the most unusual of ways. In "Stab," a bereaved twin starts a friendship with a homicidal fifth grader in the hope that she can somehow lead him back to his dead brother. In "Why Antichrist?" a boy tries to contact the spirit of his dead father and finds himself talking to the Devil instead. In the remarkable title story, a ne'er do well pediatrician returns home totake care of his dying father, all the while under the scrutiny of an easily-disappointed heavenly agent.
With Gob's Grief and The Children's Hospital , Chris Adrian announced himself as a writer of rare talent and originality. The stories in A Better Angel , some of which have appeared in The New Yorker , Tin House , and McSweeney's , demonstrate more of his endless inventiveness and wit, and they confirm his growing reputation as a most exciting and unusual literary voice - of heartbreaking, magical, and darkly comic tales.
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She came to see me in the hospital. High on IV Benadryl, I told anyone who would listen that there was an angel in the room, and the doctors and nurses thought it was charming. Even back then I was a quick and subtle thinker when I was stoned, and when my father asked me about what I had said, I could tell by his tone of voice that it would be best to pretend not to know what he was talking about. But when we were alone, and she stood silently at the foot of my bed, looking strange just not on account of wings but because she was dressed now as a doctor, with a white coat and a stethoscope and her hair done up in a smart bun, I asked her whey she hadn't warned me about the wasps. "I'm not that kind of angel," she said.
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