Since she realy deserves her own thread, here are the Amy Hempel links I always recommend to people.
Read The Harvest
then read Chuck Palahniuk talking about Amy Hempel and The Harvest: She Breaks Your Heart
and then read In The Cemeter Where Al Jolson is Buried
Now go buy The Collected Stories.
Amy is amazing, and she will break your heart. She'll also give you reasons to live.
There should have been a poll.
Amy Hempel: The Best? or The Best Ever?
This is going to sound sarcastic, but really it's not.
You can skip all those links, save yourself some time, and just go out and buy The Collected Stories. She's a great author. She fits more in a sentence, than most authors fit in a whole story.
Whether you like her or not, she deserves to be studied. A lot can be learned from reading just a few of her stories.
The first Hempel story I read was In The Cemetary Where Al Jolson Is Buried and I was blown away. She has such an amazing style and voice in her stories.Wish she was submitting more stories online.
Thanks again for the recommendations, Howie. She's good, I could read more.
I have her collected stories but I haven't dove into it like I should - I keep reading other things. Maybe because I don't want to cry myself to sleep.
The Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried is just a crusher. It's amazing. Those last few sentences are just so painful & beautifuly done. And if you lived through something similar, it just slays you.
A writing instructor was talking with her and asked her about Cemetery. She basically said that it was something she needed to write, giving the impression that she went through that experience.
This past Fall she may have been teaching a class at Harvard, which I'm within walking distance. I'm not sure if I'd recognize her if I saw her, but I'm glad we occupied the same air space for a little while.
My favourite Hempel stories are In A Tub, Tonight Is A Favor To Holly, In The Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried, The Harvest, The Most Girl Part Of You, and What Were The White Things. It seems I have a lot of favourite Hempel stories.
She is very, very good. People that don't have it really should pick up The Collected Stories.
What did people think of Tumble Home, her novella? I didn't think it was bad, but I have never felt the urge to re-read it like I have some of the short stories.
I like the other stories collected with Tumble Home pretty much more than anything else. Weekend is in my top three stories that open a collection, along with Barry Hannah's Water Liars which is the perfect synergy of Raymond Carver-like subject with Hempel-like sensibilities.
She seems to do a lot more editing of others work than publishing of her own nowadays, which is a sadness of mine. Though don't fall into the deepest of despair yet because she has a newish piece that TinHouse has published, and you can read it free on their blog while it is still summer!
A Full-Service Shelter by the grand Amy Hempel
It's not just that you can read it, it's that you should. Do.
Holy fuck, that story is good - I'd put that in her top ten for sure.
Thanks for finding that and posting the link.
I always enjoy her dog stories. I volunteer at the dog shelter where I'm from and this story hits home. Thanks for posting.
My pleasure. I was excited to find it myself and I'm more than happy to share it with others who can appreciate the mind drowning beauty of words put together by Amy Hempel.
Plus, I dig that fedora.
I remember a short story she published in the Harper's September issue of 2010, "The Orphan Lamb", which was also particularly good. Quite short, quite good nonetheless. So short I'm tempted to post it here, but Jiminy is over there chirping his annoying legs in my general direction.
I've heard the name a bunch since I showed up here, but hadn't before. I think I still have a BN gift card around here somewhere. I should put it to use. I need a copy of Warmed and Bound too, and wouldn't mind We Live Inside You except I still haven't gotten to Angel Dust Apocalypse yet, so that seems pointless.
Fuck. I love buying books too much. I have so many to read, I just need to stop.