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
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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