Sunday, January 13, 2008
Speaking with the Angel
I came across Speaking with the Angel edited by Nick Hornby while I was trying to find some light books for holiday reading. It proved to be a good find.
The book is a collection of short stories by several prominent writers in today's (well, late 90's early 2000) scene. Each writer contributed a story to make a collection that benefits Treehouse, a school for children with autism. Hornby's own son has autism and attends the school. In the introduction Hornby describes children who have autism and the amazing ways Treehouse is able to reach them. Worthy cause, right?
On top of appreciating the purpose of the collection, the stories were really great as well. The writers include Helen Fielding, Irvine Welsh, Dave Eggers, Colin Firth (yes, Mr. Darcy!), and Hornby himself.
Here's a recap of a few of my favorites:
Last Requests by Giles Smith is the story of a prison cook who prepares the inmates' last supper. It took me a few pages to catch on... and then the premise coupled with the cook's attitude struck me as so absurd and delightfully funny.
PMQ by Robert Harris is the hilarious explanation by the Prime Minister as to why his "mental breakdown" was not a mental breakdown at all... simply a series of coincidences and unfortunate events.
Catholic Guilt (You Know You Love It) by Irvine Welsh begins as a somewhat disturbing look into a young homophobic man's life. However, by the end, you'll be chuckling at his "Catholic" punishment and the scheme that he's laid out.
Recommendation: If you like the British literati and are impressed by unique points of view, you'll enjoy this book.