Laying on of Hands, The


  11 Reviews

Bennett's extraordinary ear for dialogue and sharpness of perception have made him a master storyteller. In "Father! Father! Burning Bright" he writes with tragicomic insight about a son's vigil at his father's deathbed where their lifelong battle continues to the end. "The Laying on of Hands" is a brilliantly funny satire, while in "Miss Fozzard Finds her Feet", a lonely, unmarried department store clerk discovers there is more to life than looking after her brother.

Comments from Groups

Loved all three stories- raised good discussion, particularly on death and dying. Alan Bennett's style of writing which describes the wonderful flaws in people, is subtle and clever. Masterton 005

We loved these stories. Alan Bennett is a true master of his craft. Wonderful humour and insight of all people and situations. Diamond Harbour 001

Everyone seemed to enjoy the book, and felt that the issues covered, HIV/Aids, were handled with sensitivity. All liked the fact also that the second story left a lot to the imagination. Inferences could be made and were, leading to a lively discussion. Christchurch 113

Lots of discussion. People so enjoyed his sense of humour and get the depth in the stories. Recommended. Whanganui 003

Enjoyable read for everybody. His writing has many twists and turns which you often miss on the first read. As many of us found a re-read gave us a lot more understanding of his writing. Auckland 058



This three story book was generally enjoyed, the first two especially. It was a wonderful insight into human behaviour with many humorous moments when the author captured the character of the people ( "we have always known people like that"). The third story was disappointing and seemed to drag on a bit.
Most enjoyed this irreverent romp, and found Alan Bennett an insightful writer who observed humans well!
WELL 024
Easy reading - generated great discussion. Well constructed, humorous and satirical. Most people enjoyed the first story the best.
CHCH 319
This book polarised our readers. Some really found funny and insightful and enjoyed it. Others found it tedious and didn't finish reading it.
CHCH 395
A funny read enjoyed by the group.
NAP 016
Everyone agreed that these were entertaining and interesting short stories. Alan Bennett is a marvellous observer. It helped too that those who weren't familiar with his writing had just seen 'The Lady in the Van'.
Not many expected to enjoy this book as short stories are not popular with our group. We weren't able to engage with the characters, but from the discussion afterwards it was apparent we got more out of the book than expected. We all appreciated Bennett's masterful writing, satire bordering on farce, his perceptions on human behaviour, all resulting in a meeting full of laughs at his portrayal of his characters and their situation in life.
NGON 001
None of us read short stories very often and we all enjoyed this book as "something different".
WELL 012
All group members loved the book. Alan Bennett is a master of language and everyday conversations with many twists. Excellent read.
PICT 002
'The Laying On Hands' was very much enjoyed by the group, ensuring a lively discussion.
WELL 213
Our group scored 4.5 for 'The Laying on of Hands'. Everyone had their favourite stories. The church's role in the first story interested our church going members and led to discussion about our own funerals. They warmed to Miss Fozzard and her peculiar relationship with Mr Dunderdale. We wondered what made Midgley such a wimp. Maybe becoming a teacher and marrying Joyce were more his father's ideas than his own. There are so many amazingly drawn, interesting and funny characters in these three stories. Alan Bennett's ability to capture them in words is brilliant!