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The Laying On of Hands

by Alan Bennett

What happens when a memorial service turns into a confession? We find out in this typical Alan Bennett story. Moving between humour and satire, he gradually introduces his characters through revealing little snippets, bringing this most unusual memorial service to life. One can just imagine him telling this story in his unique style, and although it's available in audio format, I prefer the print version just for the ease of being able to re-read and savour some passages more than once.

Extract

Father Jolliffe was now wishing he'd never let the congregation off the leash. They were popping up all over the place, never fewer than two people on their feet waiting their turn. Some didn't stand but put a hand up, one of the most persistent a drab youth in an anorak sitting towards the front on the aisle. How he had come to know Clive Father Jolliffe could not imagine.

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