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Speaking with the Angel
by Nick Hornby
ISBN 0140296786 / 9780140296785 / 0-14-029678-6
Publisher Penguin Books, Limited (UK)
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The contributors' list of this collection of freshly penned literary monologues, published to help The Treehouse Trust, a charity for autistic children, reads like a Who's Who of the richest, hippest authors in the UK--with a healthy smattering of talent from across the pond.
The editor, Nick (High Fidelity) Hornby, as well as writing a moving and very heartfelt introduction--his own child is autistic--submits one of the best efforts: "Nipple Jesus", a slyly funny parable about a security man guarding a chunk of dubious modern art. Other notable contributions come from Irvine (Trainspotting) Welsh with one of his identity-swap-stories, this time about a Scottish stud-muffin turned into an unwitting gay, and John (The Best A Man Can Get) O'Farrell, with a predictably funny, surprisingly edgy confessional from a mime artist slowly going to the dogs. Other big names included are Helen Fielding, Robert Harries, Zadie Smith, Roddy Doyle, et al.
As with many of these projects, there is a slight feeling of incestuousness; Hornby actually admits that Harries is married to his sister, and that O'Farrell went to his school. But given the goodness of the cause, it's no real reason to quibble. --Sean Thomas [via]