**spoiler alert** I'm very sad to say that this was a big disappointment. I guess I had too high expectations but then again, who can blame me? It's a...more**spoiler alert** I'm very sad to say that this was a big disappointment. I guess I had too high expectations but then again, who can blame me? It's a London-based (one of my big passions) book containing short stories written by a well-known contemporary female Nobel Prize winner. Why yes, I was excited.
The first story, 'Debbie and Julie', and the story 'In Defence Of The Underground' are the only stories that I actually enjoyed and the only reason why I'm giving this two stars instead of one. The main reason being the imagery of the first one (a young girl giving birth underneath a shelter with the company of a homeless and hungry dog, on a cold rainy London night) and the description and the praise of the London underground in the latter.
I found the rest to be to boring and simple - kind of like listening to mindless chatter on a family reunion or sitting through a tiring lecture. Sure, there was drama, some stories even had a twist, some even made me smile (especially the one at the Casualty department in a hospital because oh, how I've seen that scene so many, many times) and Lessing sure knows her way around beautiful language but it wasn't enough. It didn't deliver. I wanted more. I wanted it to be as if each story in this book was a passionately written love letter to London and its streets, people, bridges, shops, umbrellas, and all that comes with it. Perhaps however this is what Lessing saw. Or perhaps I didn't read it to carefully or maybe I'm just being hopelessly romantic.
If you're a people person who likes to observe people in cities; then you will like this. If you want a book where you can feel yourself roaming around the streets in London and observe the buildings around you; then this is not for you. (less)
Memorable quotes "The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something lofty about literature. Books did not care who was r...moreMemorable quotes "The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something lofty about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included."
"Authors, she soon decided, were probably best met with in the pages of their novels, and were as much creatures of the reader's imagination as the characters in their books. Nor did they seem to think one had done them a kindness by reading their writings. Rather they had done one the kindness by writing them." (less)
Speaking with the Angel is an anthology, edited by Nick Hornby, which contains a collection of witty, original and clever short stories, written by se...moreSpeaking with the Angel is an anthology, edited by Nick Hornby, which contains a collection of witty, original and clever short stories, written by several contemporary authors. The stories are all written in the first narrative but are all also different - here you get to read from the point of view of a prime minister, a prison cook, a teenage boy, a dog, a homophobic man and many more. Each short story captures a story on its own. Each style and register is different and suitable for its plot. There is humor in seriousness and there is bitterness in love. All in all, I was deeply impressed by how each author managed to tell all these smart stories in such an effective way. By the end of each, I felt as if I had read a whole novel instead and I enjoyed it very much.(less)