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Speaking with the Angelby Nick Hornby
Synopses & Reviews
Eleven completely new stories, narrated by 11 completely fabulous characters, written by 11 of the most celebrated voices in fiction today. Bestselling author Nick Hornby has brought together a star-studded group of writers to create this one-of-a-kind collection of first-person narratives.
From the imaginations of Dave Eggers, Zadie Smith, Irvine Welsh, Helen Fielding, Roddy Doyle, Melissa Bank, and others, including Nick Hornby himself, have sprung eleven enthralling, unforgettable talking heads. Clever, outragious, witty, edgy, tender, wicked....This is what is meant by "original."
A virtual who's who of the latest literary guard, this anthology bristles with the crackly talent and confidence of both the newly and the already fabulous. Included are Hornby himself, Melissa Bank, Dave Eggers, Helen Fielding and Zadie Smith, as well as veteran favorites Roddy Doyle and Irvine Welsh. Every story is told in the first person, and the voices are consistent, fresh, particular. Though some tales veer toward the trendy side of topical, each one surprises and entertains. Eggers's "After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned" is told by a pit bull whose anthropomorphized sensibilities and phraseology are quite lovely. Patrick Marber treads on familiar turf in "Peter Shelley," a defloration/coming-of-age story told in a blend of irreverence and awe that seems new. In "Last Requests," Giles Smith imagines some moments in the career of a Death Row chef who does her best to satisfy the inmates' final culinary wants. And Roddy Doyle further ennobles his reputation with "The Slave," in which an anxious, literate, working-class father suffers a mid-life reckoning with a large dead rat in his kitchen. None of these 12 stories disappoints. (Feb. 6) Forecast: An imaginative cover-featuring painted doll-like ceramic busts of the icontributors-will catch browsers' eyes, as will Hornby's name at the top of the jacket. The should sell snappily if prominently displayed, and perhaps more so if it becomes known that some portion of the profits will go to TreeHouse, a British school for autistic children's. Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Though each story is well worth reading for its own sake, this skillfully composed collection also serves as an introduction to the very talented voices of the authors represented here. For many readers, it can provide a checklist of 'who to read' for the future." Danise Hoover, Booklist
"Robert Harris's 'PMQ' is a hilarious send-up of a politician's peccadilloes. Other standouts include Hornby's own 'NippleJesus,' about a controversial artwork, told from the perspective of a museum security guard, and Roddy Doyle's 'The Slave,' a stream-of-consciousness tour de force in which a rat in the house is the progenitor of a man's midlife crisis." Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Library Journal
"Charity project or not, Speaking with the Angel is an exemplary gathering of bright literary lights from both sides of the Atlantic, doing exactly what they do best." Mary Elizabeth Williams, New York Times Book Review
"Dave Eggers's entry, 'After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned'... is a small tour de force that ratifies his ability to write about anything with style and vigor and genuine emotion.... Zadie Smith's contribution, 'I'm the Only One,' similarly showcases her gift for creating funny, engaging characters." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
Nick Hornby…Giles Smith…Helen Fielding…Roddy Doyle…Irvine Welsh…Zadie Smith…Dave Eggers…Robert Harris…Melissa Bank…Patrick Marber…Colin Firth…John O’Farrell
Compiled by bestselling author Nick Hornby and featuring brand new stories from the hottest writers on both sides of the Atlantic, Speaking with the Angel is a fresh and funny collection that is sure to be the literary anthology of the year.
Here is a book that was inspired by a very special boy and a very special school. Some money from each copy of Speaking with the Angel sold will benefit autism education charities around the world, including The Treehouse School in London, where Nick’s son Danny is a student, and the New York Child Learning Institute here in the States. This project is truly a labor of love for Hornby and the other writers involved, many of whom are Nick’s friends.
These original first-person narratives come from the most exciting voices in fiction. Melissa Bank gives readers a glimpse into the mind of a modern New Yorker whose still-new relationship is a constant source of surprise in “The Wonder Spot.” In Zadie Smith’s “I’m the Only One,” a young man recalls his strained relationship with his diva-esque sister. Dave Egger’s “After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned,” is told from the viewpoint of an unfortunate pit bull. Helen Fielding offers up a new twist on I’ve fallen and I can’t get up in “Luckybitch.” And in Nick Hornby’s “NippleJesus,” a bruiser finds out that guarding modern art is far more hazardous than controlling the velvet ropes at a nightclub. Speaking with the Angel also includes stories from Roddy Doyle, Irvine Welsh, Colin Firth, John O’Farrell, Robert Harris, Patrick Marber, and Giles Smith.
Twelve completely new stories, written by twelve undeniably imaginative voices. Speaking with the Angel is at turns clever, outrageous, witty, edgy, tender, and wicked. This is what they meant by original.
In an exciting snapshot of the best edgy literary fiction today, the author of "High Fidelity" presents the anthology of the year: stories by Helen Fielding, Melissa Bank, Roddy Doyle, Dave Eggers, Zadie Smith, and others.
About the Author
Nick Hornby is the author of the novels How to Be Good, High Fidelity, About a Boy, and A Long Way Down, as well as the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the author of Songbook, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, and the editor of the short story collection Speaking with the Angel. The recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters E. M. Forster Award for 1999 as well as the 2003 Orange Word International Writers’ London Award, he lives in North London.
Table of Contents
Introduction by Nick Hornby
PMQ by Robert Harris
The Wonder Spot by Melissa Bank
Last Requests by Giles Smith
Peter Shelley by Patrick Marber
The Department of Nothing by Colin Firth
I'm the Only One by Zadie Smith
NippleJesus by Nick Hornby
After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned by Dave Eggers
Luckybitch by Helen Fielding
The Slave by Roddy Doyle
Catholic Guilt (You Know You Love It) by Irvine Welsh
Walking into the Wind by John O'Farrell
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