This collection of short stories definately has a lot to offer, what many people may not notice is that the title of this collection is indeed relevant. Each story, in very different ways features an angel, however not the ones we stereotypically label as angels; if you like the angels in these tales are those that go un-noticed (even during the story) - a fifteen year old girl, a security guard, an old school teacher, a partner, or indeed a child. It is in this way that each story makes you think.....and re-think, and then actually question yourself - is this possible? could that really happen? I enjoyed all the stories. I would recommend this anthology to those who enjoy any of the novelists work, and those wiling to discover artists of a similar genre. Nick Hornby should be commended for compiling such a complimentry group of authors into one collection, for an absolutely tops cause!
A collection of very entertaining short stories from a range of popular contemporary authors. I was so engrosed in the first one that I forgot to get off the tube at my stop! Its all for a good cause too, with £1 every copy sold donated to the Treehouse Trust for autistic children.
Quite frankly, I liked some stories and didn't quite enjoy some of the others, but I still think this is a book worth reading, especially because the purpose for its creation is aimed to help autistic children. I was very touched by Nick Hornby's introduction. A must-buy.
I am usually very wary when buying anthologies, because more often than not, you always get at least one or two fantastic stories, while the rest are mediocre, or terrible even. And after my experience with Nick Hornby's "About a Boy" - my first for him - I really didn't know what to expect, and I was looking forward to his story the least (yes, you must have deduced by now that I hated About a Boy).
However, this book pulled me in from page 1, with Hornby's very moving introduction. Hornby dedicated this book to his son Danny who is an autistic child, he then went on to describe very eloquently the plight of autistic children and what his experience as a father to one is like.
Now, I admit I did not like every story in the book, however out of 12 short stories, there were only 4 that I didn't quite enjoy as much as the rest of them. The stories are all first-person narrations written by a range of British authors, with completely different styles of writing who take you from a bizarre dog narrating his story, to a disgraced prime minister, to a security guard, to a death-row chef.
I will only mention my favourite stories in this review, and that includes the first story of the book "PMQ" by Robert Harris, who tells the story of what happens when Britain's Prime Minister goes AWOL and ditches his security guards to have a night out on his own leading him to a series of unfortunate events. It was such a great start to the anthology, it put a huge smile on my face, not only because it was wonderfully funny, but because of how well-written and cleverly executed it was.
My second favourite story was "Last Requests" by Giles Smith, which portrays a prison cook who prepares last request meals for death-row inmates. Smith takes us on the journey of this wonderful old woman as she contemplates preparing those last meals and puts everything she has into making it a meal that counts for them.
My third favourite was "NippleJesus", by Hornby himself. This was one of the most entertaining and interesting reads I've had in a while. In this story, Hornby examines what a simple controversial work of art can have on people. It is narrated by the security guard who was assigned to watch this piece of art and make sure no harm comes to it, and we are taken on the journey of this man who at first hates it, but then slowly grows attached to it and becomes very protective over it.
My least favourite stories were "Peter Shelley" by Patrick Marber, "I'm the Only One" by Zadie Smith, "The Slave" by Roddy Doyle and "Catholic Guilt" by Irvine Welsh. The rest of the stories were also very enjoyable reads.
This is definitely a book worth buying and reading. Highly recommended.
i was excited by this book, which offers a collection of sharp and affectionate stories prepared to play stylistic games only to enhance content. it proves there is worthwhile writing in the mainstream and shows those who have avoided Nick Hornby that he is a clever writer beyond angsty lad lit.
I think the reason why this nice little collection works so well is because there is just so much variety in here. It really is a veritable literary pick n mix and rest assured if one story isn't really to your liking, the next enjoyable one is not too far away. After finishing it you feel like you genuinely have sampled a broad mix and have been exposed to some writers that you would have otherwise never come across.
This collection of short stories are varied and very readable. I particularly enjoyed NippleJesus as I find Nick Hornby witty and charming. Very good holiday reading. I have enjoyed some Irvine Welsh novels but I found Catholic Guilt very weird to say the least.
I bought this book wanting to learn more about writing short stories, as I'm trying to be a writer myself. I've always rated Nick Hornby's work, and this compilation of other short stories is a great read :)