Where the God of Love Hangs Out: Fiction
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Where the God of Love Hangs Out: Fiction

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  2,085 ratings  ·  418 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 connected 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 us to...more
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Published January 12th 2010 by Brilliance Audio (first published December 8th 2009)
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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...more
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 a...more
"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...more
"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...more
Alex Roberts
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 ref...more
Bookmarks Magazine
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
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 collecti...more
Carol Ryan
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...more
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 s...more
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 cont...more

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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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 th...more
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 a...more
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.
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.
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."
Great great great short stories about death and second chances at love in later years. Really touching. One of our great writers.
I would have loved to have given this one a 3 1/2. Kept me reading late into the night.
Terri Jacobson
This book is a collection of stories, some of which are interrelated. I enjoy short stories a lot, and I like the variation this author chose in crafting this collection. I like the effect of reading about the same characters over time. It's hard to explain, it's just a different vibe than reading in the context of a novel. Bloom's writing is spirited and emotionally true. The stories are about things like love, loss, friendship, marriage, aging, and they resonate with feeling and depth. I'll de...more
The stories in Amy Bloom’s collection “Where the God of Love Hangs Out” depict the accidents, evasions, and conclusions provoked by the wily deity of the title. Bloom captures the innumerable gradients of romance and base physicality in her engrossing illustrations of attraction. Her twelve stories contain moments of triumphal love as well as love that is mistaken, worn, and familial. Whether you recognize something from your past or see something you want for your future, Bloom ensures your int...more
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...more
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...more
I'm not usually a fan of sets of short stories that feature the same characters, and this slim collection features two of these sets. The first set concerns Clare and William, who are both married to what seem like perfect spouses, and yet Clare and William are drawn to each other. Fans of Olive Kitteridge will enjoy this linked set of stories featuring characters who are not exactly in the prime of life. Unlike with Olive, I wasn't really interested in any of these characters and especially cou...more
Christy Sibila
I am not a huge fan of short stories as a genre, but this is an excellent collection. I particularly enjoy how some of the stories are interwoven with one another, as this helps to cushion some of the abruptness that often comes with short stories. One set of stories follows two married couples over infidelity and illness, while another superior set of stories follows an inter-racial family over the course of thirty years. Bloom's stories are realistic rather than fantastical, and her prose is p...more
Amy Bloom is a gifted storyteller, a master of her craft, and a writer of what I call approachable and readable short stories. Her prose is refreshing because it’s not as experimental or edgy as many other contemporary short story writers. Her previous collection Come to Me ranks as one of the best I’ve ever read. Her writing is lush, evocative and melodic, like a novel that has been condensed, with enticing and unforgettable characters. Her stories are soulful, brim with color and affection, to...more
For years, I included volumes of short stories in my reading lists and still own several, collected against that day when I run out of things to read or the library is unavailable. The reality is that I have moved away from reading short stories. I do continue to (try to) write them occasionally and understand the undeniable creativity and craft that goes into a good one. Most recently, I have more enjoyed really long novels that I can live with and in for weeks at a time, something the best sho...more
Thom (T.E.)
Fair warning: Amy Bloom is a writer that some readers--including many avid readers, bright readers--simply will not "get." Anyone whose appreciation of book reading is based on the experience of opening the book and then, within 30 pages, knowing which genre traditions (even those of "literary fiction") will serve as your guide and mitigate any confusion should just cross Bloom off your list.

She's not a minimalist--although her genius resembles that style, and she's one of the great contemporary...more
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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 wri...more
More about Amy Bloom...
Away A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You Come to Me Love Invents Us Lucky Us

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“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” 1 likes
“I met Jay Jonhson. I won him the way poor people occasionally win the lottery: Shameless perseverance and embarrassingly dumb luck, and every time I see one of those sly, toothless, beaten-down souls on TV holding a winning ticket, I think, Go, team.” 1 likes
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