The Dog of the Marriage by Amy Hempel

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Amy Hempel's compassion, intensity, and illuminating observations have made her one of the most distinctive and admired modern writers. In three stunning books of stories, she has established a voice as unique and recognizable as the photographs of Cindy Sherman or the brushstrokes of Robert Motherwell. The Dog of the Marriage, Hempel's fourth collection, is about sexual obsession, relationships gone awry, and the unsatisfied longings of everyday life.

In "Offertory," a modern-day Scheherazade entertains and manipulates her lover with stories of her sexual encounters with a married couple as a very young woman. In "Reference # 388475848-5," a letter contesting a parking ticket becomes a beautiful and unnerving statement of faith. In "Jesus Is Waiting," a woman driving to New York sends a series of cryptically honest postcards to an old lover. And the title story is a heartbreaking tale about the objects and animals and unmired desires that are left behind after death or divorce.

These nine stories teem with wisdom, emotion, and surprising wit. Hempel explores the intricate psychology of people falling in and out of love, trying to locate something or someone elusive or lost. Her sentences are as lean, original, and startling as any in contemporary fiction.

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 June 15, 2010 by Scribner. 165 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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In “Beach Time,” the narrator lives next door to careless summer renters who toss their empty Coronas (limes still inside) over the privet hedge and are heedless of the fact that sound carries over water.

Mar 01 2005 | Read Full Review of The Dog of the Marriage: Stories

The New York Times

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Amy Hempel's stories they tell us not just what life is like but the authentic way to see it.

Apr 10 2005 | Read Full Review of The Dog of the Marriage: Stories

The Guardian

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The Dog of the Marriage: The Collected Stories by Amy Hempel 409pp, Quercus, £16.99.

Mar 21 2008 | Read Full Review of The Dog of the Marriage: Stories

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