The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel by Amy Hempel

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Synopsis

The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel gathers together the complete work of a writer whose voice is as singular and astonishing as any in American fiction. Hempel, fiercely admired by writers and reviewers, has a sterling reputation that is based on four very short collections of stories, roughly fifteen thousand stunning sentences, written over a period of nearly three decades. These are stories about people who make choices that seem inevitable, whose longings and misgivings evoke eternal human experience. With compassion, wit, and the acutest eye, Hempel observes the marriages, minor disasters, and moments of revelation in an uneasy America.

When Reasons to Live, Hempel's first collection, was published in 1985, readers encountered a pitch-perfect voice in fiction and an unsettling assessment of the culture. That collection includes "San Francisco," which Alan Cheuse in The Chicago Tribune called "arguably the finest short story composed by any living writer." In At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, her second collection, frequently compared to the work of Raymond Carver, Hempel refined and developed her unique grace and style and her unerring instinct for the moment that defines a character. Also included here, in their entirety, are the collections Tumble Home and The Dog of the Marriage. As Rick Moody says of the title novella in Tumble Home, "the leap in mastery, in seriousness, and sheer literary purpose was inspiring to behold.... And yet," he continues, "The Dog of the Marriage, the fourth collection, is even better than the other three...a triumph, in fact."
The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel is the perfect opportunity for readers of contemporary American fiction to catch up to one of its masters. Moody's passionate and illuminating introduction celebrates both the appeal and the importance of Hempel's work.
 

About Amy Hempel

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A recipient of awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the United States Artists Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Amy Hempel is the author of Reasons to Live, At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, Tumble Home, and The Dog of the Marriage and the coeditor of Unleashed. Her stories have appeared in numerous publications and have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Her Collected Stories was one of the New York Times's ten best books of 2006. She won the Rea Award for the Short Story in 2008 and received the PEN/Malamud award for Short Fiction in 2009.
 
Published December 29, 2006 by Scribner. 434 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel

The New York Times

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Sometimes, at dawn, I wake up and find myself in the pose my mother died in — lying on her side, her arm reaching from under her head as though she were doing the sidestroke in a pool, the pills she had swallowed weighing her down like so many pebbles in her pockets."

May 21 2006 | Read Full Review of The Collected Stories of Amy ...

Examiner

Amy Hempel’s The Collected Stories has been reviewed by the New York Times, Newsweek, The Boston Globe, and other papers as one of the best books of 2006, in addition to having won several other awards, and it is not difficult to understand why.

Aug 09 2009 | Read Full Review of The Collected Stories of Amy ...

Monsters and Critics

In her prose, she uses gimmicks over and again, the way the Abstract Expressionists tried to con gullible art lovers and critics into believing the fact that they intended a canvas to look like a drop cloth, or be a single color, made it art, or the way bad writers try to use mathematical formula...

Jul 25 2007 | Read Full Review of The Collected Stories of Amy ...

KQED Arts

They check her pulse, call for a guard, and in the final paragraph -- which consists of one sentence -- comes the revelation, which I simply can't tell you (Please, if you choose to read only one Amy Hempel story, make it this one!

Aug 29 2006 | Read Full Review of The Collected Stories of Amy ...

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