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The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel Hardcover – May 9, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 171 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Hempel's four collections of short fiction are all masterful; while readers await the follow-up to last year's acclaimed The Dog of the Marriage, this compendium restores the full set to print. The first of Hempel's books, Reasons to Live (1985), is justly celebrated by Rick Moody in his preface as a landmark of its era's "short-story renaissance"; it introduces Hempel's unmistakable tone, where a "besieged consciousness," Moody says, hones sentences to bladelike sharpness "to enact and defend survival." The second, At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom (1990), is the main reason to buy this book: used copies are scarce, and the collection contains stories like "The Harvest." Hempel's genius, whether in first or third person, is to make her characters' feelings completely integral to the scenes they inhabit; her terse descriptions become elegantly telegraphic—and telepathic—reportage, with not a word wasted and not a single fact embellished. Her great subject is the failure of human coupling, and she charts it at every stage: giddy beginnings, sexy thick-of-its, wan (or violent) outcomes, grim aftermaths. Seeing it laid out kaleidoscopically in this volume is an awesome thing indeed, and a pleasure lovers of the short story will not want to deny themselves. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* With the publication of her first book of short stories, Reasons to Live (1985), Hempel earned a strong position in the vanguard of the minimalist school of fiction writing, in vogue at that time and especially significant in the short story genre. Her three succeeding collections of stories, the most recent being The Dog of the Marriage (2005), maintained her high stature as a short story writer. She generally continued to compose tightly hewn stories despite the fact that minimalism as a stylistic movement was shrinking around her like a drying riverbed. The stories from her previous collections are gathered here into a single volume, and her achievement in the form is now boldly obvious. She has never imitated, never been just a somewhat anonymous member of a pack of talented storywriters. She is an original, having found--and kept--her unique way of expressing her not so much cut-and-dried as deeply penetrating vision. As the 70-page story "Tumble Home" testifies, Hempel can write longer than usual for her, and certainly that interior monologue by a patient in a mental institution is arresting in its pristine tracing of a pattern of thought. Nevertheless, she is at her best by far in the short, highly imagistic, sparely plotted, stiletto-keen slice of narrative that in her hands glistens in its sheerness, and for that she has made short story history. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Scribner; 1st Edition (May 9, 2006)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 432 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0743289463
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0743289467
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.23 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 1.31 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 171 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
171 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on October 6, 2015
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Top reviews from other countries

Wardie
5.0 out of 5 stars Hempel's Work is About the Everyday Life
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 12, 2020
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Lynchian Ghost
4.0 out of 5 stars A FANTABULOUS COLLECTION OF FICTION THAT'LL TEACH YOU THE MEANING OF READING AGAIN
Reviewed in India on July 6, 2017
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Cliente Amazon
4.0 out of 5 stars Ottimo libro
Reviewed in Italy on January 31, 2016
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Javier García
4.0 out of 5 stars Bien
Reviewed in Mexico on August 11, 2017
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Jodie_2323
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant collection
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 7, 2012
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