The Laying On of Hands: Stories
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The Laying On of Hands: Stories

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  308 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Alan Bennett’s extraordinary ear for dialogue and sharpness of perception have made him a master storyteller. In “Father! Father! Burning Bright” he writes with tragicomic insight about a son’s vigil at his father’s deathbed where their lifelong battle continues to the end. “The Laying on of Hands,” a brilliantly funny satire, describes a society memorial service for a rat...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 2nd 2003 by Picador (first published September 3rd 2001)
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A very short story that was originally published in the London Review of Books, and is typically Bennett.

It is set in the moments before, after, and mainly during, the memorial service for Clive, a young man who died in Peru a few months earlier. The fashionable London church is filled with a group of diverse but mostly famous or important friends, most of whom didn't realise Clive was also a friend of the others.

Bennett affectionately and humourously highlights the foibles and hypocrisy of mode...more
February 2012

A man stands vigil at his dying father's hospital bed, for all the good that does him (or his father). A woman finds a new chiropodist. In the title story, the memorial service of a popular masseuse who provided various other services draws together a rather famous list of mourners--most of whom are very keen (and concerned) to find out how he died.

All charming, comical, and a bit sad...and I think "Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet" might be the first story I've read about podiatry, so t...more
Jan 18, 2008 minnie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like Alan Bennett
Shelves: short-stories
If you like Alan Bennett you'll like these three stories, the second one Miss Fozzard finds her feet being the lightest.
'A woman? I said, 'In chiropody? Isn't that unusual?' 'No,'he said,'not nowadays.The barriers are coming down in chiropody as well as everything else.

She said, 'Call me Mallory.' I said,'Mallory? What sort of name is that? I wouldn't be able to put a sex to it.' She says,'Well I'm Australian.' Strong girl, very capable.And a qualified physiotherapist with a diploma in caring.It...more
Margherita Dolcevita
I funerali, non si sa bene per quale motivo, hanno sempre un risvolto comico che balza agli occhi degli spettatori non coinvolti. Quando poi non sono proprio funerali ma solo commemorazioni, l'ingombrante presenza della bara viene a mancare e ci si può anche rilassare di più.
100 paginette divertenti, acute, brillanti, la miseria umana viene messa in scena senza alcun pudore e senza alcuna remora; il libro è una come grossa fotografia in cui Bennett si concentra avidamente sui dettagli più insig...more
Molto divertente.
L'autore è abilissimo nello svelare piano piano fatti e personaggi descrivendoli con humor inglese.
E' capace, con stile psicologicamente acuto, di far emergere le ipocrisie dei VIP invitati alla cerimonia; li tira dentro tutti, complice il protagonista assente perché deceduto, il quale scatenerà tra gli astanti, prete compreso, sentimenti diversi che si esprimeranno più o meno liberamente, in una specie di confessione collettiva.
I’ve been a fan of Alan Bennett for many years. He’s one of those writers who could describe paint dry and keep my interest. He’s not written a huge amount of prose so I tend to ration myself as I did with Brautigan although at least with Bennett there’s still the possibility of a little more before he dies. I was actually a little disappointed with this group of three because two have been filmed—‘Miss Fozzard Finds her Feet’ as part of the second season of Talking Heads and ‘Father! Father! Bu...more
Un funerale, un prete, e i segreti dei personaggi dello spettacolo : un racconto brillante, divertente, ma al tempo stesso inquietante, in cui ci si trova sommersi da pettegolezzi, scheletri nell'armadio dei partecipanti al triste evento. Una critica dei riti e miti della societa’ . Si legge di un fiato.
Alexander Rolfe
I actually threw this brand new hardback in the trash when I finished it. Felt good to take even a single copy of this wretched book out of circulation.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nach Die souveräne Leserin und Cosi fan tutte ist Handauflegen nun die dritte Geschichte, die ich von Alan Bennett gelesen habe. Vielleicht ist Handauflegen nicht gar so bissig und sprachlich treffsicher (sofern man bei Übersetzungen überhaupt so harsch urteilen sollte) wie die beiden anderen, die mich sehr begeisterten. Dennoch ist es eine sehr hübsche, englische Geschichte über eine Gedenkfeier für einen Toten, den alle Besucher erst in der Kirche als den gemeinsamen (sexuellen) Nenner der bri...more
Bennett's voice is precise, his dialog clear in these short stories. I felt like a character amidst the tale.
Massimiliano Laviola
Un racconto tragicomico pieno di umorismo tipicamente inglese. Parla del funerale, o meglio della cerimonia funebre, di un massaggiatore che ha avuto tra le mani, in tutti i sensi, attrici, scrittori, registi. Insomma tutta la crème di Londra. Scorre velocemente ed è pieno di scene esilaranti (su tutte l'attrice che confonde il quadro di una fermata della via crucis per un divieto di fumo). Nonostante la sintesi e la rapidità del racconto, i personaggi sono caratterizzati alla perfezione.
Sveva Caputo
E' il primo libro che ho letto di Alan Bennett e sono certa che sarà anche l'ultimo.
Sarà che capisco poco l'umorismo inglese o che lo considero scialbo e privo di verve ma ho trovato questo testo davvero bruttino e banale.
Gli aneddoti raccontati li trovo insipidi e la scrittura mi ha parecchio annoiata.
Niente, tra me e Bennett non è scoccata la scintilla.
Mi annoia persino scriverne la recensione quindi mi fermo qui:P
Massimo Monteverdi
Come sempre, i libri di Bennett scontano un enorme difetto: sono troppo brevi. Non si fa a tempo, dico, ad affezionarsi al parroco qui protagonista di uno strepitoso funerale (e non sorprenda l'ossimoro), che il racconto è già finito. Nel frattempo, però, ci siamo gustati un impietoso irresistibile ritratto dell'umanità contemporanea, ipocrita e felice. Un genio dello humour e dell'understatement.
Bennett is obviously smart and witty with a keen eye. The first story was good and humorous, great satire or maybe just spot on observation. The second story was good too, a nice twist at the end. And while I appreciate the ending of the third story and the characterization, I didn't like it. (It was too much noise in my head, which is really effective writing, come to think of it.)
Opunzia Espinosa
Più che un romanzo un racconto. Non fai in tempo ad affezionarti ad un personaggio ed è già finito. Non l'ho trovato brutto, di certo non memorabile. Peccato, lo spunto c'era, ed era anche interessante, e molto attuale. Vabbé, si passa ad altro.
Simply delicious from first to last - mischeviously naughty in the best possible fashion but also stunningly profound - a great writer and humourist!
I was already familiar with two of the three stories contained ever it's the usual Bennett xray view of the difficulties of following ones heart versus the expectations of 'society'
Robert Wechsler
An excellent entertainment about the funeral of a bisexual masseur with a large, important, and faithful following.
Three short stories by Alan Bennett, all rather odd. Not as good as his other works I have read.
I really enjoyed the title story in this book of three stories. I was less keen on the other two.
Nov 05, 2008 Stephanie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stephanie by: Father Joe
This was an odd - and kind of risque - little story about a funeral that gets out of control.
good writing, though I liked the story of The Clothes They Stood Up In much more.
Smug and dull short stories about dull people written in a very inside ENglish way.
Liza Moss
The lady in the van ; and, Three stories by Alan Bennett (2003)
It's a funny story: written well with irony!
Il capolavoro di Bennet.
Foca added it
Aug 28, 2014
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Alan Bennett is an English author and Tony Award-winning playwright. Bennett's first stage play, Forty Years On, was produced in 1968. Many television, stage and radio plays followed, along with screenplays, short stories, novellas, a large body of non-fictional prose and broadcasting, and many appearances as...more
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