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Where the God of Love Hangs Out

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  2,956 ratings  ·  490 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
Hardcover, 201 pages
Published January 12th 2010 by Random House (first published 2009)
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Amy All of the stories are based around some sort of act or question of love. But not in the traditional romance sense. More of the heart break sense.

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da AL
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fine writing and audiobook reader compelled me to finish this. But for all the 'love the unloveable' vibe I got from it, for all of my really wanting to love this book, I just couldn't. The characters had interesting moments, but mostly I didn't like them, I felt sorry for them, and they depressed me. The night after I was done, the book gave me nightmares.
Feb 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jul 25, 2012 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
Feb 17, 2010 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
Oct 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I really, really disliked this book. It seems that the more books that I read by Amy Bloom the less I like her books, and I don't know if that's because I just started with the best rated ones, so they legitimately got worse as I went on or if she just wore me down.

This book was a book of short stories composed of 2 sets of short stories, each with its own reoccurring characters, and a few extra short stories thrown in. I really hated all of the stories in the sets. The extra stories were more
Kathie Giorgio
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was 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,
Mar 19, 2012 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."
Apr 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Cait S
Dec 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
This started out really well. I loved the first story, I really liked the second story, I enjoyed the third story, and from there I would rather have had repeated root canals with hardly any pain management than keep reading. Good god, dull doesn't even touch it.

A serious case of don't fix what isn't broken I guess.
Feb 04, 2011 rated it liked it
A somewhat interesting collection of short stories - some stories relating to the previous one; some just a story on it's own. A bit on the dull side. Amy Bloom's style of writing did not completely capture me but I continued on to the end and am glad I did. I was also glad it was a library book and not one I purchased.
Alex Roberts
Feb 23, 2010 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
Mar 01, 2010 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
Bookmarks Magazine
Feb 08, 2010 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 ...more
Michelle Richter
Apr 13, 2010 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.
Nov 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Interesting collection of short stories--can't touch Away, but I'm not sure much can. Some of the stories were longer, including chapters almost, which I didn't really care for. I'd rather see a whole story than an extended snippet, but it was interesting. Lots of "mature love," which is a little gross, but I'll be old someday, I guess...just don't really like reading about that now.
Kiara Schlesinger
Jul 25, 2015 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!
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed

In American culture, the various kinds of human loveromantic or familial for instancecome 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 a
Thom (T.E.)
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Marnie Kaplan
May 02, 2012 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
Nov 01, 2011 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 collection ...more
Mar 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I didnt 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 Blooms writing is superb and ...more
Jan 20, 2010 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 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
Larry H
Amy Bloom is one of my favorite authors. Some of her short storiesin Love Invents Us, Come to Me and A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love Youare 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
Dec 31, 2010 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
Feb 08, 2010 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
Mar 29, 2010 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
Dec 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
I dont usually read short stories because I find it frustrating to get involved in a story only to have it end right away. Im glad I made the exception for Amy Blooms collection. Her characterizations, wonderful prose, and wrenching situations suck you in, and if you get spat out right away, thats 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 and ...more
Mar 09, 2013 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
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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

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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.” 6 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” 4 likes
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