A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS' CHOICE
In this inventive collection of stories, Chris Adrian treads the terrain of human suffering--illness, regret, mourning, sympathy--in the most unusual ways. 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. A boy tries to contact the spirit of his dead father and finds himself talking to the Devil instead. A ne'er-do-well pediatrician returns home to take care of his dying father, all the while under the scrutiny of an easily-disappointed heavenly agent. With A Better Angel's cast of living and dead characters, at once otherworldly and painfully human, Adrian has created a haunting work of spectral beauty and wit.
“[A] lovely, potent new story collection . . . through wit and furious inventiveness [these stories] earn our trust and achieve a hypnotic grace.” —Caroline McCloskey, Elle
“To read Chris Adrian is to take part in the exciting process of watching a talented and original writer gain mastery of his powerful gifts.” —Myla Goldberg, The New York Times Book Review
“Spirits and demons and a persistent faith populate Chris Adrian's crystalline stories.” —Vince Passaro, O magazine
“His best work yet . . . Not one of the stories teeters out of control. They are strange, beautiful, and unforgettable. Like Kafka, Poe, and Salman Rushdie, Adrian knows the best way to bring the miraculous to life is to write it realistically.” —The Boston Globe
“Coupling with the unfathomable sadness and grief on display in A Better Angel is a curious brand of humor. . . . Adrian proves that suffering, your own or others', doesn't have to break the soul. There's also the promise, if we're ready to see the light, of revelation.” —The Seattle Times