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Where the God of Love Hangs Out

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  2,593 Ratings  ·  464 Reviews
Love, in its many forms and complexities, weaves through this collection by Amy Bloom, the New York Times bestselling author of Away. Bloom's astonishing and astute new work of interconnected stories illuminates the mysteries of passion, family, and friendship.

Propelled by Bloom's dazzling prose, unmistakable voice, and generous wit, Where the God of Love Hangs Out takes u
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Hardcover, 201 pages
Published January 12th 2010 by Random House (first published 2009)
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Billie Burke Meeker Its like a hallway that you can reach your arms out, barely skimming both sides; on one its pure love, and the other your darkest desire. They are all…moreIts like a hallway that you can reach your arms out, barely skimming both sides; on one its pure love, and the other your darkest desire. They are all a little painful, emptying and satisfying. (less)

Community Reviews

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christa
Feb 14, 2010 christa rated it really liked it
DISCLAIMER
I'm not much on short stories, and I'll admit that I'm using a generalization here, but so many of them are too something. Like contrived edginess for the sake of being edgy. Like a tribal tattoo on the small of your back, but you don't know what the symbol means. And other times they just don't feel satisfying. They require the same level of commitment as dating someone who is moving in a week: Enough time for a fling to create the illusion that he doesn't crap, but not enough time to
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Charlotte
Disappointing, because her first collection of stories was so stunning and original. A bookjacket-reviewer said something like, "She packs more into a single sentence than most writers put into an entire novel." I wholeheartedly agree, even here, with this odd collection of forced and stale material. Read one sentence and you're sucked right into another world. Depite its shortcomings, Bloom continues to be a wonderful writer here, who is still exploring surprising subjects with an unflinching ...more
rachel
Jul 26, 2012 rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
"We were never lovers. We just had sex," she says. But it is not what she believes. They were lovers just as ugly babies are still babies."

As it turns out, Amy Bloom describes this book of Amy Bloom's in the best way possible. Or at least, it is the best way to describe the two major stories, more like novellas, each told in four acts. In the first story of the "William and Claire" sequence, two married, middle-aged platonic teacher friends -- she a bit neurotic and he morbidly obese -- start fo
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tee
Jan 13, 2011 tee rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
"Amy Bloom gets more meaning into individual sentences than most authors manage in whole books." - The New Yorker

But for 'most authors' I'd like to substitute 'Jonathon Franzen'. Although 'most authors' is entirely accurate, I'm endeavouring to slip a bit of Franzen hate in whatever chance I get. You can imagine how tiring I am in real life.

If only authors like Bloom got just a teensy bit of the hands-down-the-pants love that Franzen gets then, fuck, I don't know the world would be a better pla
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Kathie Giorgio
Jul 24, 2015 Kathie Giorgio rated it it was amazing
Amazing.
Does that say enough?
I picked it up, I read the first sentence, and that was all she wrote. Well, no, she wrote much, much more, and I loved it all.
In particular, I love the story series that started with "Sleepwalking" and ended with "Fort Useless and Fort Ridiculous". The stories stay with this same odd little family - beginning with a widow sleeping with her newly adult stepson as they both try to handle grief - all the way through years until the widow's death. That first story, "Sle
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Jaime
Jul 03, 2012 Jaime rated it it was amazing
Amy Bloom is one of my favorite contemporary authors. She achieves things that I have only dreamed of. For example, the first thing I thought of after reading this collection of short stories was, "Damn. Now THAT is how you write a story about an extra-martial affair."
Alex Roberts
Mar 01, 2010 Alex Roberts rated it really liked it
An extraordinary, compassionate collection of stories. Laced with a romantic spirit yet anything but soft. In these tales, Love- as it will do- insists on sacrifice, regrets and compromise, and will occasionally concede a small dose of comfort or satisfaction here and there to prolong the game. Two quartets of internally linked tales steal the thunder here. The first follows a late in life change of partners within a circle of friends in academe. Tender and mature, this initial series sets a ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Feb 08, 2010 Bookmarks Magazine rated it really liked it
Shelves: mar-apr-2010
Bloom's background in psychology gives her amazing insight into the human psyche, which she uses to full advantage in these lovely, mesmerizing stories, written with sympathy and wisdom. The critics seemed genuinely surprised that there could be any uncharted territory in the world of love, but Bloom adeptly maps the human heart without sentimentality or cliché. They lavished praise on her deeply affecting prose and "uncommonly fully formed" characters (New York Times), admiring her use of indiv ...more
Jennifer
Mar 04, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010
I had seen this book on the Goodreads giveaway page awhile back, and although I entered, I am so glad I did not win the giveaway. Thank goodness this is a library book I can take back!
The book was told in several small stories which I was not expecting. I was a bit thrown by the format because some chapters were related and there was a break in the book to let the reader know a new story was starting. However some chapters that followed were not a continuation of the preceding chapter so it thre
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Michelle
Apr 13, 2010 Michelle rated it it was amazing
My God, it's a rare thing indeed to read a collection of short stories and enjoy every single one. But I did here, especially the William and Clare stories. Bloom is a masterful writer. My first encounter with Amy Bloom's writing was her novel Away, and really hoped I could enjoy her short stories as much. I am glad I hadn't read her in literary journals and earlier books before this though, as some had been previously published. I do think I will check out her backlist though.
Claire
Aug 02, 2011 Claire rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
http://www.tkreviews.org/#/where-the-...

In American culture, the various kinds of human love—romantic or familial for instance—come with socially acceptable norms and responsibilities. The ultimate customary expression of romantic love is marriage between two well-matched people. In a conventional demonstration of familial love, children are expected to care for their elderly parents. But what happens when two old friends who are married to other people realize that they are soul mates? Or when
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Marnie Kaplan
Feb 10, 2013 Marnie Kaplan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Upon first finishing this book I wrote in my journal: "There is something magical about finding a new author you love. I'm not sure why I picked up Amy Bloom's latest short story collection. The colorful cover maybe. A recent pattern of reading short story collections possibly. I read the collection on a bus ride from NYC to DC, savoring the language, loving the character development, knowing I'd be requesting all of her works from the library. There are two sections of connected short ...more
Abby
Jul 19, 2012 Abby rated it really liked it
I haven't read either of Amy Bloom's two previous collections of short stories but I loved “Away,” her first novel, and jumped at the chance to see what she would do next. As it turns out, three of the four stories in one of the two linked sets in “Where the God of Love Hangs Out” are reprinted from the earlier books. Bloom first wrote about the Sampsons from Julia's perspective, revisited them in stories narrated years later by her step-son and son and looks in once more in the current ...more
Michelle
Mar 20, 2011 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I didn’t intend to read two collections of linked short stories back to back but am glad I did. I was feeling that perhaps I was unduly harsh on my prior review (You Know When the Men are Gone) but this confirmed it for me. The stories in this collection are on an entirely different level. This book is essentially divided into two parts, the first with stories about one couple and the second covering another couple, with the occasional one-off stories thrown in. Amy Bloom’s writing is superb and ...more
Rachel
Sep 30, 2013 Rachel rated it it was amazing
My Christmas present from Mike. Bloom is great to read if you love Lorrie Moore - the closest thing you can get to the real thing. Bliss.

This didn't disappoint on any level. Many of these stories connect in clusters, so you get 3-4 doses of stories about the same set of characters. The effect is that Bloom has sort of written 2 novellas, and thrown in a couple of extra stories too, which suits me fine - her short stories leave me wanting more in the best possible way. Her novel, Away, is absolut
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Vanessa
Apr 09, 2010 Vanessa rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
More like 4.5 stars. This is easily the best book I've read this year, maybe the best book I've read in a while. This is the kind of book you buy even though you have read the library's copy because you want to keep it close to you. There are a handful of stand-alone stories and two sets of four stories that follow a group of people over time; one set (William and Clare) is about an adulterous couple and one (Lionel and Julia) is about a stepmother and her adoptive family. The second set had a ...more
Jacqie
Jan 20, 2010 Jacqie rated it really liked it
Amy Bloom is a master of characterization. Her characters are unique, flawed, fascinating people. I'm sure I'd enjoy hanging out with them. She is also great at describing the undertones of love, both positive and negative. From a woman waking in the night next to her husband, finding herself weeping and crying the name of her lover (these people are in their late 50's) to the reluctance of a widow to enter her house, knowing that she will see her dead husband inside after not being able to ...more
Carol Ryan
May 25, 2011 Carol Ryan rated it really liked it
There is something I like about the length of a short story or a chapter. If it is just right it entertains and enlightens for just the right duration. Sometimes a good short story involves such interesting characters or plot, that a novel is desired. Amy Bloom's book,
"Where the God of Love Hangs Out", consists of four sets of stories of characters followed over time, or from different perspectives. It's a good compromise between a novel and a book of unrelated short stories, especially for tho
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Larry Hoffer
Amy Bloom is one of my favorite authors. Some of her short stories—in Love Invents Us, Come to Me and A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You—are among the best I've ever read. And her latest story collection, Where the God of Love Hangs Out, is a worthy addition to this list.



There are two sets of interrelated stories in this collection and some unrelated ones. The first set chronicles William and Clare, lifelong friends who, unbeknownst to their spouses, are falling in love with each other late
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Jennifer
Feb 08, 2010 Jennifer rated it liked it
Amy Bloom is one of my favorite short story authors - I prefer her short stories and was not a fan of her novel, "Away." I was particularly excited for this new collection of stories. The excitement was slightly lessened when I started reading, only to discover that four of the stories had previously been published in previous collections of Ms. Bloom's. Bummer. Had I purchased this instead of getting it from the library, I'd have been pretty annoyed.

That said, the series of stories about Willi
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Kathryn
Mar 29, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say that I was somewhat indifferent to the content of these stories but Amy Bloom writes so well that I could not stop listening. The reader who has won an Audie Award was also very good. These are short stories about the unlikely, messy and undeniable kind of love that IS despite whether it is acceptable or not and ranges from passionate love, to familial bonds and friendship that is deep and lasting. Some of it is pretty uncomfortable especially the tale of a mother and son in law ...more
Kim
Oct 15, 2015 Kim rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-read
Quite liked this collection of short stories, several of which were linked together in two sections - one section tells stories from the lives of William and Clare, partners respectively of Isobel and Charles, who are having an affair; the second main section tells of Lionel and Julia - Julia is Lionel's stepmother but the tales are of the whole family over a period of time. I thought the stories were pretty good, not that much happens and the characters overall are not very likeable where they ...more
Julie
Dec 07, 2010 Julie rated it really liked it
I don’t usually read short stories because I find it frustrating to get involved in a story only to have it end right away. I’m glad I made the exception for Amy Bloom’s collection. Her characterizations, wonderful prose, and wrenching situations suck you in, and if you get spat out right away, that’s okay. There are also two sets of four stories, which allowed me to find out “but what happened next??” but still in short-story format. The link between them all is a broad one, about the actions ...more
Fran
Aug 10, 2010 Fran rated it really liked it
When I first ordered this book from the library, I misremembered the title; I thought it was Where the Love of God Hangs out. But that's more of an Anne Lamott title, promising scenes of transcendent natural beauty and spiritual comfort. Amy Bloom does not play that game. This is a brutal book, with the gems deep down. In several sets of internally linked stories, Bloom explores themes of cruelty, power and powerlessness, family, and grief. It's a book that will stay with you.
Sarah Laing
Aug 05, 2011 Sarah Laing rated it really liked it
This is the first Amy Bloom I've read, and I really loved it. They were mostly stories about families, marriages, human frailty, death, but what was remarkable is that you were immediately engaged in each story; the stories felt like they contained a novel's worth of detail and the characters seemed so knowable. I particularly liked the interlinked stories which formed novellas. I will definitely be seeking out more.
Kiara Schlesinger
Aug 14, 2015 Kiara Schlesinger rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness Amy Bloom I just fell in love with you. I can't believe I've gone so long without you! I don't tend to be the biggest short story fan. But each story stood on its own spectacularly - and to have them tie together in a series was just too much for my brain. Such sharply drawn characters. Unconventional love stories. Even when I was recoiling I was sucked in. Bravo!
Brennan
Jan 04, 2012 Brennan rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Great great great short stories about death and second chances at love in later years. Really touching. One of our great writers.
Lisa
Mar 13, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it
I would have loved to have given this one a 3 1/2. Kept me reading late into the night.
Laura Moore
Sep 19, 2015 Laura Moore rated it did not like it
I only gave this book one star because there is no option to give zero stars! Utter drivel!
Norma Owers
Sep 18, 2015 Norma Owers rated it did not like it
Not a lot!!
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Amy Bloom is the author of "Come to Me," a National Book Award finalist; "A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You," nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award; "Love Invents Us"; and "Normal." Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Short Stories, The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction, and many other anthologies here and abroad. She has ...more
More about Amy Bloom...

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“Oh, it's very hard, "Clare says, sitting down slowly and not too close. "Oh, I miss him so much. I didn't know. I didn't know. I didn't know that I would be like this, that this is what happens when you love someone like that. I had no idea. No one says, There's no happy ending at all. No one says, If you could look ahead, you might want to stop now. I know, I know, I know I was lucky. I was luckier than anyone to have had what I had. I know now. I do, really.” 3 likes
“Clare is good, spiky company, and she is the very best companion to have in a bad situation. Trouble brings out the cheer beneath her darkness, unlike everyday life, which tends to have the opposite effect” 2 likes
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