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 paediatrician returns home to take 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, and a writer of heartbreaking, magical and darkly comic tales.
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