A Better Angel: Stories
4 out of 5: This collection of short stories is insanely imaginative. One story unfolds from the perspective of a troubled 9-year-old yearning to bond with his substitute teacher. Another follows the spirit of a dead woman as she shadows the living in a hospital, divining their innermost thoughts. Many of Adrian's stories are darkly humorous, and most of them stretch the boundaries of reality. All of them are full of heart, even if that heart is broken and beyond repair.
Adrian, who is both a pediatrician and a divinity student in addition to a writer, blends the often incompatible medical and spiritual realms to create stories that challenge reality in credible ways. His protagonists inhabit extreme states; they are dying, murdering, possessed by evil spirits, or wallowing in sickness or addiction. Above all, they are interesting. If you're one of those people who believes most contemporary short stories read like class assignments for the Iowa Writers' Workshop, this collection will restore your faith in the power of this literary form.