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Sing to It

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From legendary writer Amy Hempel, one of the most celebrated and original voices in American short fiction: a ravishing, sometimes heartbreaking new story collection--her first in over a decade.

Amy Hempel is a master of the short story. A multiple award winner, Hempel is highly regarded among writers, reviewers, and readers of contemporary fiction. This new collection, her first since her Collected Stories published more than a decade ago, is a literary event.

These fifteen exquisitely honed stories reveal Hempel at her most compassionate and spirited, as she introduces characters, lonely and adrift, searching for connection. In "A Full-Service Shelter," a volunteer at a dog shelter tirelessly, devotedly cares for dogs on a list to be euthanized. In "Greed," a spurned wife examines her husband's affair with a glamorous, older married woman. And in "Cloudland," the longest story in the collection, a woman reckons with the choice she made as a teenager to give up her newborn infant. Quietly dazzling, these stories are replete with moments of revelation and transcendence and with Hempel's singular, startling, inimitable sentences.

160 pages, Paperback

First published March 26, 2019

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About the author

Amy Hempel

46 books949 followers
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 the Short Story in 2008, and the Pen/Malamud Award for short fiction in 2009.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 439 reviews
Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,195 reviews1,816 followers
June 14, 2021

In copertina, Stephen Brayda.

E se tu fossi una che non sa quando una cosa è finita? se fossi l’ultima che resta quando tutti gli altri sono usciti dal concerto, dal cinema, dalla città infestata dal crimine, dalla storia d’amore fallita? Se cercassi un segno ma il segno non viene. Oppure viene ma tu non lo vedi. E se dovessi prendere una decisione da sola e fosse un brutto colpo il fatto di poter contare solo su te stessa.

William Wegman: Water Damage. Citato da Hempel.

Ho trovato dolore in questi racconti, ho incontrato gente che soffre, gente ferita, sfregiata, che ha subito traumi, “cuori danneggiati”. Ho letto di solitudine.
Ho percepito empatia, perfino tenerezza. Calore.
E, nonostante il dolore, nonostante la sofferenza, e le ferite, ho conosciuto gente che cerca un sorriso, che prova a scherzare, che conosce ironia, magari cupa, lacrima e sorriso non sono mai troppo distanti. Ho respirato vitalità. Resilienza.
Avrei voluto avvicinare tutti, tutte, sfiorarli, toccarli, accarezzarli, sentire il suono della loro voce, ascoltarli parlare e lasciare che loro ascoltassero me.
Sarebbero nate amicizie, legami.

Gloria Vanderbilt: Cloudland. Regala il titolo all’ultimo lungo racconto della raccolta.

In questi quindici magnifici, magistrali racconti, lunghi anche solo poche righe (riuscendo anche così a raccontare un’esistenza), lunghi per lo più una o due pagine, tranne l’ultimo che con le sue sessanta pagine occupa da solo quasi metà della raccolta, ma non diventa mai novella perché la lingua della Hempel è ondivaga, è fatta per l’epifania, il racconto fulminante, l’ellissi, l’haiku, forse la poesia, quello che a casa sua chiamano “long poem”, per la facilità di lettura che non risolve la difficoltà di comprensione.
L’inaspettato, l’intermittenza emotiva, i controsensi dell’anima.
Soprattutto fa pensare al salto emotivo del silenzio di una persona solitaria.
Può essere narratore esterno o io narrante, dialoghi o monologo, tante voci o una sola voce: a me a volte fa pensare a due amiche che si ritrovano dopo una lunga separazione e hanno urgenza di raccontarsi e saltano da un argomento all’altro senza nesso logico.

Kim Holleman: Toynado. Hempel lo descrive e fa gioco di parole col titolo di un racconto.

Quando scrivo un racconto cerco di avvicinarmi il più possibile alla poesia. È di grande aiuto quando si scrivono storie. S’impara molto su ritmo, suono, compressione e selezione. Non c’è spreco di parole.
Così dice Amy Hempel, che con le sue cinque raccolte di racconti, poco più di 500 pagine in tutto, ha lanciato l’ennesima sfida allo stile e alla lingua del racconto, rinnovando un genere letterario che ha negli Stati Uniti una tradizione illustre, lunga oltre due secoli.

Se, come recita il titolo, nessuno è come qualcun altro, siamo forse isole, impossibilitate per definizione a comunicare l’uno con l’altro, più che incapaci.
Eppure, Hempel dimostra che con le parole giuste, quelle che lei conosce come pochi altri, si può dire qualsiasi cosa, si può parlare, e comunicare.

Gloria Vanderbilt: My Darling From the Lions, 2013.
Profile Image for Debbie.
455 reviews2,899 followers
March 3, 2019
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 closure. I think there may be buried meaning all over the place, but I’m not willing to reread the stories more than a few times. (And is it a good sign that I had to reread them at all?) Huffing and puffing, I haul out the Complaint Board when I get a load of the last story, which takes up half the book. It’s pretty long and pretty awful.

Okay, the scoop on my short pogo-stick ride: The early stories are intriguing, so I’m all happy face, expecting the joy to be endless. And then I come across one story that knocks my socks off: It takes place in an animal shelter and is called “A Full-Service Shelter.” It’s so intense and upsetting! It’s especially weird that this one works for me because I can’t stand sad animal stories. But love it I do. Cohesive, compelling, un-put-down-able—and very thought-provoking. Hempel’s language is brilliant and there’s a rhythm to it that pulled me in. No way will I ever forget this story.

Now let’s get to that last looooong story, “Cloudland,” which I pretty much hated. It’s a hot mess. There’s one major storyline happening, and it’s super interesting and poignant, but there are all these off-the-wall side-trips that have nothing to do with it, and they trump the good story. (My guess is that they do have something to do with the good story, but it went right over my head.) The story reads more like notes from a journal or a rough draft of a memoir. No structure, no characters, and it’s all ramble-y. Two of the endless and annoying asides are about Mariah Carey and sinkholes, I kid you not! Hempel doesn’t have a high opinion of either. I don’t particularly disagree with her, but come on—this is a short story! Fiction. Remember? Not the place to spew your opinions of a pop artist or educate us on dangerous geological structures. Seriously? Do I really have to read about Mariah Carey? Even if Hempel had thrown in my beloved Meryl Streep, I’d still be mad.

My reaction is weird, because Hempel is considered such a pro. She teaches creative writing and she is hugely popular among short story fans. And I know she shapes her stories carefully, so I’m surprised by the last piece in her collection. I kept fantasizing about how much fun I would have as the editor, pulling out the gem of the story hidden within, and cutting out all the crapola in between. They should have run it by me, lol.

I read a couple of stories by Hempel many moons ago (in the 1980s) and was impressed by her language and her ability to get to the juice of life by using an economy of words. Her way at looking at the world is unique and mesmerizing, and she picks up on little important or odd things that we all just let pass unnoticed and unexplained. She can set up a scene that pulls you right in. She truly is a master short-story teller.

For some reason, I have a tome of her short stories lying around my house, and now and then I dip into it and get swallowed up. So when I saw that she had a new collection, I was all excited. I’m trying to be happy that there’s one dynamite story and I’m trying not to think about the fact that many of the stories are blah—or really bad, like that last story. “A Full-Service Shelter” gets 5-plus stars, but “Cloudland” barely gets 2, so I end up doling out 3 stars for this collection. Overall, disappointing (but I am glad I got to read the “Full-Service Shelter” gem).

Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.
Profile Image for Ines.
321 reviews198 followers
January 18, 2020
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 these short stories, a glass of fresh water that gives pleasure and just satisfaction and can therefore do more.....( read more)

John Duncan Fergusson, “Poise”

Ho finito questo libro da giorni e continuo a ripensare a cosa ho letto, cosa mi è rimasto.... e non
riesco esattamente a trovare una piena risposta soddisfacente.
I racconti sono brevissimi, finiscono quanto il tempo di stracciare un foglio, sono così ermetici che tutto pare raccontato sotto forma di un bisbiglio creativo..
Mi sono piaciuti " The Orphan lamb" e "Greed", mi hanno alasciato una sorta di piacere momentaneo senza però riuscire a ricevere qualche cosa che sedimentasse in me.
Ecco, forse è questo aspetto che manca in questi racconti brevi, un bicchiere di acqua fresca che da piacere e giusta soddisfazione e poter quindi fare altro.....( leggere altro)
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,799 reviews2,392 followers
February 6, 2019
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 this does have several very short stories. My enjoyment of the stories varied considerably, which had less to do with the length of these stories than only a few of them appealed to me based on various things – subject matter / characters, and in the case of the last and longest story, the feeling that the story felt true to the character, perhaps, but the thoughts of that character seemed to flutter here and there, making it very disjointed – to me.

However, I will say that I found several of the stories beautifully written and moving, and I was impressed how much she manages to pack into some of these short stories.

Pub Date: 26 Mar 2019

Many thanks for the ARC provided by Scribner
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
263 reviews294 followers
February 11, 2019
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 is A Full-Service Shelter, about a dog shelter volunteer who works mostly with the dogs slated to be killed. It's harrowing and beautiful at the same time, savage and tender.

Sadly, the longest short story in the collection, Cloudland, is the weakest. The writing is still pretty, but it's as if the extra length suffocates all emotion from the story.

As Sing to It is a very slim volume, and the longest story is the weakest, why am I rating it so high? (3.5, rounded up) Because short stories, when done right, as most of these are, are always worth checking out, though I would recommend a library copy instead of purchasing. (Though I did preorder this after reading an ARC--the very short stories in this are just that good)
March 1, 2019
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 for me is putting it rather mildly.   I either read a short story and feel like it was completely pointless because there wasn't time to get to know characters and develop any sort of connection or plot or I love it and then get frustrated because it didn't provide any sense of closure because there wasn't enough time to really let it unfold.

Basically, short stories frustrate me and I'm super picky about them.
Amy Hempel is the only short story writer that allows me to pick up a book and feel relaxed because it was written by her capable hands.  She manages to pull me in to a vague moment and allow me to completely understand and connect to it.  She breaks my heart in a few pages.  She tells me stories that make me smile and wince simultaneously.

So now that I've gushed about the author, I'll get to my review of her upcoming release (her first in over a decade), Sing to It: New Stories.

This collection of fifteen stories covers a wide range of emotion, all relating to connection.  
In "A-Full Service Shelter" a volunteer explains the care given to dogs on the list to be put down and the lengths to try and save them.  
In "Fort Bedd" a person longs for a sense of home/permanence that isn't stifling when things go wrong.  
"The Correct Grip" stunned me in one and a half pages, when a woman receives a call from the wife of her attacker.
"Cloudland", the last and also longest story, feels random and disjointed at first but we eventually get to the heart of the story when a woman looks back on her time at a home for unwed mothers and must then reconcile her choice after heartbreaking information is revealed. (I loved finding out in the acknowledgements that Chuck Palahniuk shared with Hempel the information that she used in this story)

All of these stories were written with great care and deliver a huge punch.  Several of the stories are a single page and yet I read them three or four times to take in all of the emotion.

This is a solid collection of skillfully written short stories.  I highly recommend this book, especially if you haven't had much luck with short stories in the past. 

Thanks to Scribner and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Sing to It: Short Stories is scheduled for release on March 26, 2019.

For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Come Musica.
1,610 reviews415 followers
December 6, 2019
Lei è Amy Hempel.
Lei è la più brava scrittrice di racconti letta finora.
Lei merita di essere conosciuta.
Lei in quindici racconti più o meno lunghi, narra del dolore e delle scelte che la vita ci pone dinanzi.

Quindici storie in cui si raccontano i modi in cui si può strappare un cuore.

Cantagli una canzone e L’agnello orfano non superano le quindici righe e sono dei racconti perfetti, incisivi nella loro brevità, come fossero un haikū o un keiryū (che è un genere che è più nelle mie corde).

In Un rifugio con tutti i servizi, si narra del lavoro presso un rifugio per animali, dove alcuni di questi venivano soppressi: il racconto (che registrerò a breve) è ritmato da “ci conoscevano”, “mi conoscevano”.

Straziante l’ultimo racconto Clouland, la Terra delle nuvole, come un quadro di Gloria Vanderbilt, di cui riporto un brano: “ Per assecondare Lois ho finito di sentire la me stessa di quattro anni, ma la voce che cercavo di “sentire” era quella della bambina nel meno, una bambina che era cresciuta nel frutteto della clinica. Quella bambina chiedeva come era possibile che nessuno li avessi visti. L’ho presa alla lettera - ho immaginato che bambini sepolti nel frutteto che diventavano parte delle radici degli alberi. “I bambini tra i rami del melo/ Ignorati, perché non cercati“.“
Profile Image for Demi.
195 reviews18 followers
December 24, 2018
Holy shit. Worship at the feet of the master, y’all.
Profile Image for Vincent Scarpa.
581 reviews159 followers
October 6, 2018
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 Second Seating,” “Moonbow,” and “Equivalent” — but difficult to find, I imagine, is the reader who doesn’t locate the prize in SING TO IT in “Cloudland,” the longest story in the collection, which, like “Tumble Home,” convinces me that Amy Hempel and Amy Hempel alone knows how to navigate expertly the strange terrain of the long-long story/almost-novella. It’s a staggeringly great piece of writing, and with enough autobiographical overlap — Hempel’s friend, the late Christopher Coe, is mentioned by name, and the story does take place in Hempel’s new terrain of Florida — that it’s tempting to read as at least partially true, in which case it’s all the more devastating. (As was the case with “Tumble Home.”) Of course, that isn’t what matters at all. What matters is the language, and, fuck, I mean, even if it didn’t contain a Joni reference, this is masterful:

“‘The geese in chevron flight’ — these are Joni Mitchell’s words, and I hope the girl got to see this. In my mind, she sees this over and over, every year at the right time of year. The sound is part of the vision, of course, and part of Mitchell’s haunting song, ‘Urge for Going.’ I played it countless times. Sound calls up yearning more than anything you can see, and is why I no longer listen to the much-loved song...You can shut it all down. Every last thing you defined yourself by — you can give it up, and go without, and put up a front that gets some traction. You must keep your gaze turned outward. Pay attention to others. Don’t fall back on what is waiting to take you down. Or choose to fall back on it, with arms flung out at your sides.”

Thank the god I don’t believe in that she’s back.
Profile Image for Wes.
72 reviews28 followers
October 26, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Judy.
1,155 reviews
February 10, 2019
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 point of a short story I think. Reading these stories I found many social and economic issues touched on without being preachy. These issues are relevant and the ability to make people think about them discretely is a gift. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to relate emotionally to many of these stories - or maybe they are just over my head. I found the writing style detached and aloof and just didn't get warm fuzzies from these stories - they just didn't evoke emotion for me.

Thanks to Amy Hempel and Scribner through Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for L.S. Popovich.
Author 2 books341 followers
December 29, 2019
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, which delivers. There were several question marks popping into my head when I read the lesser ones. Remove all of the negative space in the book and you will end up with out 50 full-length pages.

One other thing I fail to understand is why the publisher thought it necessary to state on the cover: "By the Award-Winning author of The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel".

In the end, this is a footnote-sized collection for Hempel completionists. I don't think it's my fault that I'm beginning to question my appreciation for an author I used to rank with Lorrie Moore and Joy Williams. Still, an influential author with a style all her own. I highly suggest her earlier collection over this one.
Profile Image for Teresa.
Author 8 books817 followers
March 22, 2020
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 story is a novella. The storyline is intriguing, but for me its disparate pieces didn’t cohere. It’s set in Florida, mostly, with some humorous/sad moments as the narrator relates the citizenry calling climate change “the controversy” even as their homes have been destroyed by increased flooding and new tornadoes. The setting and issues remind me of my recent read of Florida by Lauren Groff and that her style is more my style.
Profile Image for Kasa Cotugno.
2,413 reviews493 followers
November 5, 2018
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 of a careful person. Some of the stories, short as they are in length, have taken root in my mind (Moonbow for its grieving, and Greed for its cynicism), and another, A Full-service Shelter, will remain with me endlessly.
Profile Image for Domenico Fina.
268 reviews79 followers
December 4, 2020
Grazie a Dio non possiamo ancora fotografare una coscienza, o una crisi di fiducia, o una mancanza di rigore morale, o ciò che viene dopo il rimorso. (dal racconto “Cloudland”)
Profile Image for Morgan Schulman.
1,252 reviews31 followers
October 5, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Guillaume Morissette.
Author 8 books134 followers
March 31, 2019
I don’t have a sword but I would pledge my sword to defend Amy Hempel, pledging my Macbook instead.
Profile Image for Bud Smith.
Author 17 books396 followers
August 17, 2019
Incredible. Linked stories. Visionary writing. Amy Hempel is the heavy weight champion of the word.
Profile Image for Kent Winward.
1,700 reviews49 followers
January 15, 2020
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 breaks and titles.


Profile Image for ↟Katia↟.
74 reviews
July 18, 2020
"E se tu fossi una che non sa quando una cosa è finita? Se fossi l'ultima che resta quando tutti gli altri sono usciti dal concerto, dal cinema, dalla citta infestata dal crimine, dalla storia d'amore fallita? Se cercassi un segno ma il segno non viene. Oppure viene ma tu non lo vedi. E se dovessi prendere una decisione da sola e fosse un brutto colpo il fatto di poter contare solo su te stessa."
Profile Image for Steve.
97 reviews4 followers
February 25, 2019
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 collection's anchor and is also arguably very strong: it has a powerful sense of place, as the narrator is somewhat exiled in Florida and haunted by her experience as a young woman at a somewhat creepy New England home where she went away to give birth to a child she'd never see again.

Whenever the author's writing started to accrue into something more expansive, it tended to draw me in. Ultimately, though, for me, even then the style is frustratingly free associative, with not enough narrative through-line. Really just a matter of preference. Again, I can absolutely see why some readers might love this. For fans of Lydia Davis and other modern masters of the very short story/microfictions with more emphasis on creative self-expression than narrative.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
3,675 reviews2,667 followers
April 8, 2019
“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 Carolina art installation. The author’s passion for working with dogs inspired the best story, “A Full-Service Shelter,” set in Spanish Harlem. A novella, Cloudland, takes up the final three-fifths of the book and is based on the case of the “Butterbox Babies.” Ending with a novella feels like a jolting change of gears.

See my full review on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website.
9 reviews
February 11, 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 Full Service Shelter and The Correct Grip were my favorites.
Profile Image for Anne.
395 reviews1 follower
July 26, 2020
She's not for everyone, but she's definitely for me.
Profile Image for Rosemarie Donzanti.
457 reviews8 followers
April 27, 2019
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 of these stories. I feel I need to pick this book up again and reread. I’m sure there is a lot of meaning packed into small spaces and a second, slower reading is in order.

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.
-Amy Hempel, Sing to It: New Stories
Profile Image for Remo Macartney.
Author 2 books16 followers
July 14, 2020
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 like poems with emphasis on the beauty of the language. Each story seems to focus on an intense feeling —usually something melancholic— and leaves you to ponder it. Stories like The Doll Tornado and Fort Bedd are brief, vivid, and packed with meaning and emotion. Longer stories like the heartbreaking Full Service Shelter and The Chicane are going to linger in my mind for some time.

I can’t spend too much time on each story because I think new readers should experience them on their own. Amy Hempel’s writing style is beautiful and spare. There is a love for dogs in these stories —and on the paperback cover I have— and sometimes this involves dealing with sad realities facing dogs. My family has always adopted rescue and shelter dogs, and I appreciate Amy Hempel detailing what shelters are like and why rescuing dogs is so important.

Sing to It is a new favorite collection, and I recommend it to everyone. I’m sure I will read it again many times. I truly cannot express how much I love this book.
Profile Image for Megan O'Hara.
179 reviews53 followers
July 28, 2022
first two stories i was thinking hell yea brother 😤🔪😤 but the rest is some of the worst short fiction I've read, it almost felt like a spoof
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