The Laying On of Hands Stories

Alan Bennett




Trade Paperback

208 Pages



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A New York Times Notable Book

Collected here are three stories by the renowned playwright and essayist.

"The Laying On of Hands" is Bennett at his inimitable best in this satire about a society memorial service for a rather special masseur who has died at a tragically young age in Peru.

In "Father! Father! Burning Bright" Bennett writes with tragicomic insight about a son's vigil at his father's deathbed where their lifelong battle continues to the end. With his pared down and deceptively simple prose style Bennett describes the random thoughts and haphazard conversations of the family members waiting in the hospital as they face life and death.

In "Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet" a podiatrist shows a lonely, unmarried department store clerk that there's more to life than looking after her brother. Part of the award winning and critically-acclaimed Talking Heads series, "Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet" was described in The New York Times as both "touching" and "hilarious."


Praise for The Laying On of Hands

"Brilliant and luminous . . . Bennett's genius is his ability to satirize humanely . . . He leaves no frailty unexposed, but does so with extraordinary sympathy . . . [His] insights are hilarious and trenchant."—Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review

"Few write sharper dialogue or probe more tellingly into the frailties and occasional strengths of the human psyche than Alan Bennett. No one knows more about getting each scene just right or as consistently witty."—William Trevor

"No writer since Sir John Benjamin has been held in such affection as Alan Bennett. The two have much in common. Both celebrate the magical and comical possibilities of everyday speech; both find themselves drawn back ceaselessly into the past; both conceal regret, a sense of solitude, and a slither of anger beneath a cozy public face . . . 'Father! Father! Burning Bright!' is a masterpiece in miniature."—Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

"The poise and timing of Bennett's comic lines are as immaculate as ever . . . ['The Laying On of Hands'] is a light, funny, and beautifully self-contained story with Bennett's unmistakable touch."—Stephanie Merritt, The Observer

"Bennett delivers substantial pleasure in a small package."—Booklist

Reviews from Goodreads



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Alan Bennett is a renowned playwright and essayist, whose screenplay for The Madness of King George was nominated for an Academy Award. He is also the author of The Clothes They Stood Up In and Writing Home. He lives in London, England.
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  • Alan Bennett

  • Alan Bennett is a renowned playwright and essayist, a succession of whose plays have been staged at the Royal National Theatre and whose screenplay for The Madness of King George was nominated for an Academy Award. He made his first stage appearance with Beyond the Fringe and his latest play was The Lady in the Van with Maggie Smith. Episodes from his award-winning Talking Heads series have been shown on PBS. His first novel, The Clothes They Stood Up In, was published in 2000. He lives in London.
  • Alan Bennett Hugo Glendinning
    Alan Bennett