||The stories in A Better Angel describe the terrain of human suffering illness, regret, mourning, sympathy in the most unusual of ways. In Stab, a bereaved twin starts a friendship with a homicidal fifth grader in the hope that she can somehow lead him back to his dead brother. A never-do-well pediatrician returns home to take care of his dying father in the remarkable title story, all the while under the scrutiny of an easily disappointed heavenly agent. In The Colony, a young doctor travels to a remote island to study a mind-destroying illness and finds himself the victim of a transfiguring sympathy for the afflicted. And in Why Antichrist?, a boy tries to contact the spirit of his dead father and finds himself talking to the Devil instead. Such miraculous and chilling events are not uncommon in Chris Adrian's world, which is by turns heartbreaking, magical, and darkly comic.