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Speaking With the Angel

3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  5,281 Ratings  ·  297 Reviews
Nick Hornby…Giles Smith…Helen Fielding…Roddy Doyle…Irvine Welsh…Zadie Smith…Dave Eggers…Robert Harris…Melissa Bank…Patrick Marber…Colin Firth…John O’FarrellCompiled 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 ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 1st 2001 by Riverhead Books (first published 2000)
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Bryce Wilson
Mar 26, 2008 Bryce Wilson rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
I usually don't buy Anthologies as at best they're like Mix Tapes with a few bum tracks, this one went for a good cause though and was put together by Nick Hornby so I figured hey why not it's got a few bum tracks but it's still pretty strong. A Bit of a Breakdown.

-PMQ, Robert Harris: Very funny very British FPS Account of a Prime Minister having a nervous breakdown, a bit dry but I dug it.

-The Wonder Spot: Mellisa Banks- Look I know Chick Lit is an unseemly putdown that dismisses the work with
Nicole Pramik
Speaking With the Angel is not my usual cup of reading tea as I'm a speculative fiction gal through and through. But that doesn't mean I automatically pass over anything that doesn't involve aliens, magic, or paranormal beings. I can enjoy a good bit of literary fiction provided it holds my interest, and that's exactly what this short story anthology does for the most part.

For starters, proceeds of this novel did/do go to benefit TreeHouse, a school for autistic children in which Hornby's own so
Mar 11, 2016 Liz rated it liked it
My 5 Question Review

Share a one sentence synopsis, please?
A collection of adequate McSweeney-esque short stories by the young literary elite of the early aughts.

What did you like?
The opening story about a runaway Prime Minister was pretty cute (“PMQ”), I appreciated the vulnerability of “The Wonder Spot”, and for an story with 'nipple’ in its title, “NippleJesus” was surprisingly enjoyable and thought provoking. Well done on that count, Mr. Hornby.

Can’t really knock this book too hard
May 24, 2011 Ben rated it did not like it
It's not that this book is bad (honestly I think GoodReads should add an 'eh it was whatever' rating to their scale so that we could correctly classify books that just sort of 'exist')'s just that I'm not entirely confident that anyone put their best foot forward with this collection. At times it almost feels like the authors sat around a table with a hat full of topic ideas and drew slips of paper.... Marber will write the "lose your virginity" story, Smith writes the humanizing prisoner ...more
May 10, 2009 Helen rated it really liked it
Dedicated to editor Hornby’s son Danny, $2 of the cover price of this collection will be donated to Treehouse, a school for autistic children. Hornby’s explanation of why this collection came about in the introduction is in itself a heart-felt piece of writing. And then he’s topped it with NippleJesus, a story about a nightclub bouncer turned art gallery security guard and his reactions to a controversial work called, you guessed it, NippleJesus.

My other favorite was PMQ by Robert Harris whereby
Jul 21, 2016 Raymond rated it really liked it
I like short stories. In fact one of best stories I've ever read, including comics and full length novels, is 'The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains', a short by Neil Gaiman. A good short story is like a fling. You meet, smile at each other, embrace, kiss and kiss and kiss some more and all the happy chemicals explode in your head and just when you're beginning to catch your breath, it ends. It's a little supernova in a few thousand words and it impregnates the mind with endless worlds.

Dec 11, 2007 Erin rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
David Egger's short story "After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned" is included in this collection. It's one of my favorites--it's written from a dog's POV and he captures the dog's rhythms and (what a human might guess to be) the dog's mindset so so well. It's storytelling that leaves me awestruck. And, truthfully, it's the one (and only) story that stuck with me long after I read this collection. So, really, I need to just pick up more of Egger's short story collections and ...more
Lalaine David
Jun 23, 2015 Lalaine David rated it liked it
The book benefits the TreeHouse foundation for autistic children, which Hornby's son attended. In the introduction, Hornby starts off by saying he owes nothing to the readers, only to the contributors of the anthology, which seems like a haughty thing to say for someone who is doing charitable work.

This collection of stories is okay. Some stories are good, Hornby's NippleJesus being the best (he's editor, after all)

Runners Up:

Last Requests
Catholic Guilt
Walking into the Wind
Feb 08, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I love this book, perhaps a little too much. I bought it on a whim and it introduced me to Helen Fielding and Zadie Smith, gave me more from Hornby and Welsh and instructed me to steer clear of Eggers in the future (I know many love him, I'm just not there yet.) But I became smitten w/it when I read "Peter Shelley" by Patrick Marber, so much so that I attempted to hunt down his other works which only consist of plays (and I'm not one for plays).
May 29, 2007 Jessica rated it really liked it
An overall entertaining collection of contemporary short stories by mostly British authors such as Nick Hornby, Roddy Doyle, Giles Smith and Helen Fielding. I mean, come on, one of the stories is titled "NippleJesus", how can you resist that?
Dec 02, 2016 Türker rated it liked it
Nick Hornby'nin editörlüğünde on iki yazardan öyküler. Köle, Memeucuisa ve Rüzgara Karşı Yürümek öyküleri için 3/5
Mar 30, 2014 Gavin rated it it was ok
Shelves: funny
So let me make sure to point out, this is EDITED by Nick Hornby, though he does contribute 1 story himself. It's 12 different authors putting out short stories. Some are good, some are OK, and some are awful.

PMQ - Robert Harris - Hornby's brother-in-law, this is actually one of the funnier ones, about the British PM getting into a big misunderstanding with a reporter, a 15yr old girl, and reads like a Monty Python skit.

The Wonder Spot - Melissa Bank - If I were a feminist, I would be insulted by
Suad Shamma
Mar 03, 2013 Suad Shamma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, own, 2013
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 dedic
Mar 16, 2011 Shelley rated it it was ok
A few hits, many misses. This is kind of like the movie Grown Ups, where you get all these comedic geniuses together and you think it's going to be an uber-comedy and it just ends up falling flat because everyone's trying way too hard. I have read writing by nearly all of the authors in this collection of short stories, which are by an all-star cast of (mostly British) modern writers, including Nick Hornby, Zadie Smith, Melissa Bank, Helen Fielding, Patrick Marber, Dave Eggers, Irvine Welsh, and ...more
May 10, 2008 Jim rated it really liked it
A collection of short stories by various writers, edited by Nick Hornby. The proceeds from this book go to schools that specialize in educating students with autism, a good cause important to Hornby, whose son is severely autistic. I liked most of the stories, especially the following.

The best of the lot was Nick Hornby's 'Nipple Jesus'. The title refers to an art exhibit featuring a collage of pictures of breasts cut from magazines that form a picture of Jesus. It is narrated by a club bouncer
Feb 13, 2011 Luna rated it it was ok
Speaking with the Angel, a compilation of short stories by various authors, is occasionally enjoyable, occasionally painful, and thoroughly disjointed. All of the stories are told in the first-person, but aside from that they are all completely different and do not seem to belong in the same book at all. They do not even seem to appeal in any way to the same readers.
The first story, "PMQ" is excellent. In the form of a press conference, a Prime Minister tries to explain some personal incident -
David Bril
Oct 12, 2014 David Bril rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nick-hornby
Speaking with the Angel is a fantastic collection of short stories that is edited by Nick Hornby, that was created to help raise awareness and funds for TreeHouse a school that Hornby helped create, that works with severely autistic children. It has stories from, Robert Harris, Melissa Bank, Giles Smith, Patrick Marber, Colin Firth, Zadie Smith, Nick Hornby, Helen Fielding, Roddy Doyle, Irvine Welsh, Dave Eggers and John O'Farrell. All the stories are funny, and sweet and this entire book is ...more
Lisa Cole
Jul 17, 2013 Lisa Cole rated it really liked it
I finished the short story collection Speaking With the Angel edited by Nick Hornby.... Not only is Colin Firth hot as heck, but he can write too! I picked up the collection mainly because I saw Firth's name on the author list, and because I saw Helen Fielding's name on the author list as well. I had not read anything by Nick Hornby or the other writers before reading this collection. All of the stories were first-person narratives (which I almost always enjoy) and almost all (if not all) of the ...more
Feb 07, 2016 Hans rated it really liked it
I've had my eye on this collection since it was published some 15 years ago. First, I'll say that the two pieces from Nick Hornby are the stars of the collection: the volume's introduction/mission statement and his story "NippleJesus". The mission of the book was to raise funds (and a bit of awareness) for schools that teach essential life skills to autistic children. It's a personal cause for Hornby and he is well-positioned to have a strong showing of friends/colleagues (and even a ...more
Megan Anderson
Jul 14, 2012 Megan Anderson rated it really liked it
A collection of short stories from some of the best contemporary authors from America and Britain. Bonus: Proceeds benefit schools for children with autism.

I was really excited to stumble on this collection of short stories that included not only Hornby’s work, but also stories from Dave Eggers (I loved What is the What and Wild Things) and Zadie Smith (White Teeth is a must read). I would have bought the book if it only contained three short stories, one by each of these authors, but it also i
John Brooks
Nov 14, 2007 John Brooks rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes anything
Without question, this is my favorite collection of contemporary short stories. The cast of writers is drool-worthy:
Roddy Doyle, who makes gold from paper and ink; "Closer" playwright Patrick Marber; Mr. Darcy himself, Colin Firth; Nick Hornby, who edited; Zadie Smith; Helen Fielding; Irvine Welsh; Zadie Smith; Dave Eggers; Melissa Bank, who wrote the terrific "The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing" (which is also a great great great GREAT book); Giles Smith; John O'Farrell; and Robert Harris
Jennifer Barbee
Apr 01, 2009 Jennifer Barbee rated it really liked it
Like most short story collections, whether multi-writer anthologies or single author collections, I instantly forgot over half of the tales, but will likely remember a few forever. I have a hard time with short stories for this reason, because I feel like so many pages are wasted on me in order to mine for those few gold nuggets that hide between the covers. And memorable or not, those nuggets usually scarcely balance out the time spent reading those stories that will be forgotten before the ...more
Speaking With the Angel is a collection of short stories edited by Nick Hornby. Since I'm a big Hornby fan I had to pick this up.

The book started really strong. It had some good, funny and memorable stories. One of my favorites is the first one - PMQ by Robert Harris. It's about an English politician who goes on a wild romp through England and then has to justify his actions to the court. It's funny - a bit of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride for adults. Another favorite was Last Requests by Giles Smith. Th
Feb 27, 2009 Djrmel rated it liked it
A collection of short stories written by friends of Nick Hornby at his request to raise money for an autism education program in England (and in the US if you buy the published in America version). The only requirement Honby gave his friends was that the stories be told in first person. With that broad of a brief, you're bound to get a variety of tone, plot, and of as in any anthology, quality. Colin Firth, for one, should never quit his day job. And Dave Eggars reminded me that writing as an ...more
Oct 29, 2007 Paul rated it liked it
i honestly picked up this book because i was fascinated by the cover. Those little plastic doll heads really spoke to me. But enough about my particular psychosis.

i found this collection of contemporary short stories surprisingly enjoyable. The voices all seemed fresh and original and some of the stories have really stuck with me. That's the way it goes with short fiction collections i think. For example, i find most of Bradbury's sci/fi short stories forgettable but each of his well known colle
Jag visste i princip inget om boken innan jag köpte den förutom att det var en novellsamling. Det var först när jag skulle börja läsa den för någon vecka sedan (typ två) som jag upptäckte att Hornby bara är redaktör. Förvisso har han bidragit med introduktionen och en egen novell men majoriteten av samlingen är skriven av andra författare och kända människor. Inte för att jag klagar – det var mycket intressant att ta del av flera författare som jag tidigare inte läst något av.

Det är en mycket in
Jan 03, 2009 Amy rated it liked it
When I saw the line-up of authors on the cover of this book, I was expecting to be blown away. There were a few stories that stood out from the rest, but I felt like the majority of them were stories I would have seen in a fiction class, not a published collection of stories. NippleJesus by Nick Hornby, was probably my favorite, along with PMQ by Robert Harris. Colin Firth's The Department of Nothing struck a sentimental chord, but I'd say the rest were about average, not leaving too much ...more
Nov 29, 2008 Tim rated it really liked it
A collection of 12 short stories from an incestuous gang of hip, young, mostly-British authors, edited by Nick Hornby. There are a few misses here, but they are outweighed by the hits, some of which are quite good.

The Good: Hornby's "NippleJesus" was the best of the lot, and I also liked the stories by Patrick Marber, Melissa Bank and Roddy Doyle.

The Mixed: Irvine Welsh's contribution was a fascinating mess - I don't think it quite worked in the end, but it was a fun ride. I wasn't quite sure wh
Jul 21, 2010 Mitzi rated it liked it
Overall, I appreciate that there was a theme holding the book together, and that the book was put together and put out for a good and noble cause. I love Nick Hornby -- his stories, his writing style -- so I figured I shouldn't miss out on any of his books, even if this was not the usual.

But, as in most anthologies, there were some forgettable ones, some that took me forever to finish because they sort of dragged, and some that I just had to take since they were part of the collection. Most were
Dec 09, 2015 H. rated it liked it
Shelves: year-4, ywca1
This is a book you like. It's like a friend you're not sexually attracted to, but want to bring into your friend group. She's funny, adds a lot to the conversation, but you just don't want to have sex with her. After meeting her your friends will all ask you why, but it's just not right.

When rating books I always try to give ratings based on whether I would recommend them to others--and usually think of somebody in particular I would give this book to. This compilation almost has it. It isn't t
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Nick Hornby is the author of the novels A Long Way Down, Slam, How to Be Good, High Fidelity, and About a Boy, and the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the author of Songbook, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, Shakespeare Wrote for Money, and The Polysyllabic Spree, as well as the editor of the short-story collection Speaking with the Angel. He is a recipient of the American Acade ...more
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