Adrianne Mathiowetz's Reviews > The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel

The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel by Amy Hempel
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it was amazing
Recommended to Adrianne by: Rick Moody, who for the record writes an annoying introduction.
Recommended for: Hemingway fans, people who hate Hemingway

This is one of those books that has you rereading sentences over and over again, not because you couldn't parse their basic meaning, but because you suspect that a second reading will glean another, more subtle bit of information. It will also make you want to own a dog. It will also have you falling in love with Amy Hempel and wanting to make her your bride, in a house on the countryside with a weedy garden and a swamp nearby.

I started reading God of Small Things within five minutes of finishing Hempel's collection of short stories, and as soon as I finish God of Small Things I intend to reread Hempel: as much as I love writing flowery, adjective-ridden prose, I'd rather return to Hempel's universe of somehow showing without showing, and saying without saying.

Hempel's stories will make you want to write differently: what higher praise can I give?
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 1, 2008 – Finished Reading
March 25, 2008 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Jessica (new) - added it

Jessica I do like Hemingway but this is a damn good sales pitch. I've never bothered reading anything by Amy Hempel, and you've just made me think that's a problem.

message 2: by Ruth (new) - added it

Ruth I'm sold.


David The stories in the first two collections were stunning. Some of the later ones were a little too opaque - even after several readings I couldn't figure out what had, or might have, happened.

Ideal stories for doglovers with a high tolerance for ambiguity. Closure-craving cat people may find more to admire than to like in the later stories.

message 4: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I've only read a few stories by Hempel. I know I must read more; I even own some books by her. I'm constantly told I should read her; I've even been told my stories (some of them) are like hers. Why don't I go near(er)? I think David gets at something with the opacity...and I love the dog & cat remark! However, I would be a cat lover with a high tolerance for where does that put me vis-a-vis Hempel, Sir D? now, it must be said, I've not given up on her, that would be silly, I've not yet read enough to form an opinion on her oeuvre.

Mbreaden Yes, the intro was annoying, I thought!

message 6: by KFed (new) - added it

KFed the introduction IS pretty annoying, huh?

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