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A Better Angel

Stories

by Chris Adrian

A Better Angel
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2008, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2009, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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Heartbreaking, magical, and darkly comic tales

Chris Adrian writes piercing, astonishing, deeply serious stories that sound utterly ridiculous if you only describe their plots. His second novel, The Children's Hospital, one of the best novels I've read in the last five years, is about a hospital that turns into an ark during an apocalyptic flood and bears its inhabitants towards a new land. How corny is that? Yet Adrian pulls it off because, though his conviction in his own fictional world never wavers, he persistently undercuts the ponderousness of his symbolism with irreverence, and the combination comes off sounding a lot like wisdom.

Adrian's literary terrain is best categorized as magical realism, in which none of his characters are surprised when supernatural happenings overtake their otherwise recognizable world. One story features an angel who begs her human host to take another hit of heroin, and ...

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