OVERRIDE

The Laying On of Hands

Stories

Alan Bennett

Picador

Three stories in one volume from one of Britain's most admired authors and playwrights. The Laying On Of Hands is Bennett at his inimitable best in this funny, and mischievous 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 unflinchingly 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."

BOOK EXCERPTS

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The Laying On of Hands


Seated obscurely towards the back of the church and on a side aisle, Treacher was conscious nevertheless of being much looked at. Tall, thin and with a disagreeable expression, were this a film written forty years ago he would have been played by the actor Raymond Huntley who, not unvinegary in life, in art made a speciality of ill-tempered businessmen and officious civil servants. Treacher was neither but he, too, was nothing to look at. Yet several times he caught women (and it was women particularly) bending forward in their seats to get a better view of him
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REVIEWS

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, The 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

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • 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
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Laying On of Hands

Stories

Alan Bennett

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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