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Sing to It: New Stories

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,916 ratings  ·  326 reviews



All the tawdry details I’m dying for are in these stories, but they’re given out like old sweaters—without shame, without guile. Amy Hempel is the writer who makes me feel most affiliated with other humans; we are all living this way—hiding, alone, obsessed—and th
Hardcover, 149 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Scribner
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Sarah Ward The cover art with the two greyhounds (which is what initially attracted me to the book) is pretty random. There's a story about a woman who volunteer…moreThe cover art with the two greyhounds (which is what initially attracted me to the book) is pretty random. There's a story about a woman who volunteers at a high-kill shelter but mainly the breed that's described is pit bulls.(less)

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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  1,916 ratings  ·  326 reviews

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Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
From pogo stick to Complaint Board…

I gleefully pull out my pogo stick at the beginning of this small collection, and I boing on down the road—it’s heaven on a stick. But wait! I don’t want to hop anymore. I sigh, sullen, and read on even though most of these stories aren’t doing the trick. Oh sure, they have great language and style, but they don’t have much in the character and plot departments. They’re all too short, too. Short doesn’t usually bother me, but it does here. And forget about clos
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I have finished this book days ago and I keep thinking about what I have read, what it left to me.... and I can't find exactly the right answer.
The stories are very short, end as long as the time to tear a sheet, they are so hermetic that everything seems told in the form of a creative whisper.
I liked " The orphan lamb" and "Greed", they sent me a sort of momentary pleasure without however being able to receive anything that would sediment in me.
Here, perhaps it is this aspect that is missing in
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
At the end, I wanted to comfort him. But what I said was, Sing to it. The Arab proverb: When danger approaches, sing to it.

The above quote is taken from the first story in this collection, Sing to It. The first story is not alone in being a very short story. Less than one page short. While it is not the only story in here that is that short, there is one that is probably around half the pages in the entire book, and one early on that is longer than the average length in this collection, but
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sing to It is a short collection of short stories, many of which are a page or less long. What's amazing to me is that in a few hundred words, Amy Hempel can tell an amazing story--lyrical, gorgeous, and raw. These stories are livewires and they read like poetry to boot. I think The Orphan Lamb, The Doll Tornado, and the opener, Sing to It, are especially strong, but my favorite qas The Correct Grip, which left me awed and reeling.

Of the longer, more traditional short stories, the best by far i
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
I first heard about Amy Hempel around 2002 when I read an interview (at least I think it was an interview) with Chuck Palahniuk, who was one of my favorite writers at the time.  Palahniuk recommended Hempel in such a way that I felt it was necessary to read her work.  I'm so glad that I did.  I found her books Reasons to Live and Tumble Home: A Novella and Short Stories and they absolutely devastated me in the best possible way.

I am not a huge fan of short stories.   Saying they are hit or miss
Vincent Scarpa
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In every way perfect, this set of stories. (Except, perhaps, “The Chicane,” though it’s likely I’m missing something and just need to read it a few more times, and carefully.)

Favorites include “A Full-Service Shelter,” “I Stay With Syd,” “Greed,” and “The Correct Grip,” stories I’ve admired since reading them when they first appeared in litmags. (Minor complaint: the substitution of “hell” for “fuck” in the latter story’s final line!)

New to me were three wonderfully sad short-shorts — “The Sec
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Holy shit. Worship at the feet of the master, y’all.
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.75 stars
(I’m rounding down to distinguish from my rating of The Dog of the Marriage: Stories.)

I received this book through a giveaway by Middle House Review: a big thank you to them.

I want to like Hempel more than I do. I’m reminded of feeling the same with Lydia Davis and giving up on her. At least I didn’t want to give up on Hempel's book.

The not-even-one-page stories are as fierce and as beautiful as poetry. Of the stories a bit longer, I already don’t remember much. Oddly, the last stor
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a collection of 15 short stories - and some are very short, about a page long. None of the stories seems to be related to each other. My favorite story was A Full Service Shelter about a volunteer at a dog shelter. It was heart-breaking. The other story I liked was the very first one - Sing To It, but it was because I liked the Arab proverb: When danger approaches, sing to it.

I appreciate that Amy Hempel is a great writer and says a great deal in a small amount of space which is the
L.S. Popovich
2.5 stars.
Amy Hempel's award-winning The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel was chock-full of absorbing, somewhat dog-centric tales, with formal artistry and quirky characters. Her latest collection proves that she has been doing something the past thirteen years. The main problem is the brevity and insignificance of what is on display here. Any selection of her earlier work is superior, and most of the pieces in this tiny collection are clearly flash fiction. There is only one full-length story, w
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's Amy Hempel -- we all know it's going to be good. But I was completely unprepared for just how astonishing Sing to It is. I repeatedly had to get up and pace back and forth, I was so startled and excited by Hempel's increasingly powerful ability to elevate and, really, define the short story form.

She is nothing short of a magician.
Kasa Cotugno
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ranging in size from about a page to the length of a small novella, these 15 stories are proof that Amy Hempel's name belongs right up there with the best in short fiction. Some are snippets of observation and opinion, others, possibly semi-autobiography, and apart from knowing she is currently living in Florida, I don't know enough about her life to make that a solid judgment. Still, Cloudland, told in a voice almost of bemusement, seems to reflect thoughts of a careful mind if not the actions ...more
Morgan Schulman
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reader-s-copy
I received an advanced reader’s in exchange for an honest review

These writings are a cross between poetry and short stories, short snippets of a person’s impression of an experience. Beautiful, and it works.
Guillaume Morissette
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t have a sword but I would pledge my sword to defend Amy Hempel, pledging my Macbook instead.
Kim Lockhart
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Best two stories in my humble opinion: Greed and Cloudland.
Bud Smith
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredible. Linked stories. Visionary writing. Amy Hempel is the heavy weight champion of the word.
“When danger approaches, sing to it.” That Arabian proverb provides the title for Amy Hempel’s fifth collection of short fiction, and it’s no bad summary of the purpose of the arts in our time: creativity is for defusing or at least defying the innumerable threats to personal expression. Only roughly half of the flash fiction achieves a successful triumvirate of character, incident and meaning. One of the book’s overall standouts is “The Doll Tornado,” about a real-life Greensboro, North Carolin ...more
Andrew Moore
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Netgalley ARC
The writing here is often times gorgeous and Hempel is able to conjure so much thought with so few words. This book may only be 160 pages but to truly absorb it, you need to read slowly and thoroughly. I will add to this that even though I feel she's a beautiful writer, I didn't necessarily love all of the stories. And the fact that I wasn't all too fond of the final story which consumed nearly half of the pages, somewhat diminished my feelings towards the project as a whole. A
Rosemarie Donzanti
Apr 26, 2019 rated it liked it
A book of fourteen short stories. Most are very short, sad internal reflections that read more like poems than short stories. Two of the stories I loved. They are much longer and more powerful than the others. "A Full-Service Shelter" is the story of a woman who works at a shelter and takes care of the animals on the “kill list”. Very moving and heart wrenching . “Cloudland" is about a woman who gave her child up for adoption a very long time ago and can not let go of her choice. 4 ⭐️s for each ...more
Sing to It: A sunning work of art.

I first learned about Amy Hempel through a short story she wrote called The Harvest. I was honestly floored. I don’t read a large amount of short story collections, but The Harvest changed my perspective. I adored Hempel’s beautiful minimalist style, and like Chuck Palahniuk I felt I’d read something truly special.

This short story collection is comprised on pieces ranging in length from a paragraph or two to novelette length. Some of the shortest pieces read lik
Trishita (TrishReviews_ByTheBook)
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Sing To It is a collection of short short stories, a bit longer short stories and one novella-sized short story, most of which I understood, to my surprise and subsequent glee (with a hint of pride).

Written with enlightened simplicity by Amy Hempel, these stories seem to rally behind the idea of the literature of less. Less words, more purpose. Laid bare of unnecessary details, maybe meaning had little scope of hiding here, or maybe I found meaning easier to uncover behind sparser language, mayb
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
I can definitely see why this is getting good reviews, but it wasn't for me. My bias up front: I like poetry, short stories, prose poems, but I'm not a fan of microfictions, which make up the bulk of the collection. There are a handful of longer stories, here, though, and I liked those a bit better. "A Full-Service Shelter" is a beatific piece about volunteers in a dog shelter, and it has a nifty structure. "Cloudland" (three stars), about a woman who has given up a child for adoption, is the co ...more
Kent Winward
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Dear Audiobook Producers:

Do something to indicate you've moved to a new story in a collection of short stories, a sound, a beep, a tinkle -- anything. Particularly when the author likes to write first person narrative short stories that have ambiguous endings. It gave the unsettling feeling that I was listening to a horribly disjointed narrative which was not the case. Hempel's stories were fine and entertaining, but little thought was given to the audiobook listener who doesn't have page bre
Nicole D.
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019, o-magazine
I'm not a fan of short stories; I am a fan of Amy Hempel, however, I found this collection really uninspiring. Her writing usually knocks my socks off, but I got nothing out of this. Some of the "stories" were so short they didn't even cover a page.... 2-3 little paragraph snippets.

This felt like a hard drive data dump.
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
She's not for everyone, but she's definitely for me.
Cassie (book__gal)
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How does Amy Hempel take a paragraph’s worth of writing and fill it with so much texture and nuance?

Many of Hempel’s stories in this collection are just 2 pages or less, but just because she’s austere with her words doesn’t mean there is any less feeling in them. These are stories of love, defeat, pain, and longing. It’s abstract, stories start in the middle, there’s no beginning and end, and you are often reading between the lines when you read Hempel, but I love every minute of it. This is a
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the book critic James Wood, and he describes the stories in this collection as both lucid and elusive at once, almost “briskly mysterious.” I love that. I thought, what else is there to say? I’ve read all her previous collections, and, as ever, the emotional concentration in stories that are as short as hers are can be awe-inspiring, and in their best moments, genuinely breathtaking. These stories are over almost as soon as they’re begun, but they contain depths and need to be read carefu ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Closer to 3.5 stars. As with most short story collections, this is a mixed bag. I found the very very short stories to be absolutely exquisite - efficient, beautiful, powerful use of language creating an entire story in a paragraph or two. In contrast, the longer stories (particularly "Cloudland") feel bulky and slow. I think the longer stories only feel this way situated next to such fine, tiny, beautiful pieces.
Tammy V
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! Library book. Loved it enough to go buy the collected stories and hope this style holds through all her work.

To me, these short shorts and the short that comprises about half the book (chapbook size) are prose poetry. The short of half the book is a collage of thoughts which work together to create a story. Nonlinear at it's written best.

I thought these were her own experiences because the voice in each piece rings through so clearly. I had to go back and check that these wer
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amy Hempel was one of my favorite authors growing up in high school, and still one of the best writers I've encountered. She writes sentences like no one else, top-shelf stories. This is her first collection in over ten years. It's a slim book, with many of the stories running 1-2 pages long. At first, this was a bit of a turn-off for me. "Short shorts" can be good and all, but I've had my fill of those lately (too much Dave Eggers). Hempel is the expert type of writer they teach in creative wri ...more
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Amy Hempel is an American short story writer, journalist, and university professor at Brooklyn College. Hempel was a former student of Gordon Lish, who eventually helped her publish her first collection of short stories. Hempel has been published in Harper's, Vanity Fair, GQ, and Bomb. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as the Ambassador Book Award in 2007, the Rea Award for ...more

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