Amy Bloom's 1993 collection, Come to Me,
is filled with yearning mysteries of romantic and familial love that are far more complex than the phrase "love story" allows. The first sentence of the first story, "Love Is Not a Pie," evinces the contradictions, layers, and interconnections of her narrator's existence--and hooks the reader entirely. "In the middle of the eulogy at my mother's boring and heart-breaking funeral, I began to think about calling off the wedding." The title phrase means exactly what it says: Lila's mother didn't have a finite amount of affection and was lucky not to be forced to choose between love's accepted forms and a more unusual one: "People think that it can't be that way, but it can. You just have to find the right people." Lila realizes that she needs to get out of her engagement because she isn't ready for normality.
The unusual pervades these stories, and Bloom handles some outsized events with delicacy and humor. In "Sleepwalking," a new widow sends her stepson away after they've slept together, because she wants him to have a normal life. The author makes us aware that there's something terrible and foolhardy about this woman's decision. Several other characters find themselves in equally desperate situations, their only consolation being recollections of earlier bliss, often sensual: "It was like nothing else in my life, that river of love that I could dip into and leave and return to once more and find it still flowing." For them, memories of past happiness makes present sorrow bearable.
From Publishers Weekly
Bloom's remarkably consistent first collection of stories includes her award-winning "Silver Water," a sad remembrance of a mentally ill sister and the family that loves yet cannot help her. The story includes elements common to Bloom's work: female protagonists whose lives are changed through psychological trauma, often involving therapists or people embarked on therapy. This makes sense, since Bloom herself is a practicing therapist. She deftly explores the complexity of the therapist-patient relationship ("Song of Solomon" and the aptly titled, ironic "Psychoanalysis Changed My Life"); the subtle brutality of troubled families ("Love Is Not a Pie," "Sleepwalking," "When the Year Grows Old"); and the strange compromises struck by couples to maintain tenuous emotional connections ("Sleepwalking"). Taken together, however, Bloom's insights into human love and obsession tend to blur into a long and rather uniform psychoanalytic lesson, undercut occasionally by revelations. She's at her best in showing how people really think, as in a description of a self-effacing housewife's distracted thoughts during sex in "The Sight of You," or in the title story, in which Bloom achieves a soaring complexity in characters whose strange behavior eludes any simple psychological explanation.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.