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Come to Me: Stories Paperback – April 13, 1994

4.4 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (April 13, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060995149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060995140
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I came to know Amy Bloom in my early twenties as a subscriber to Glamour Magazine. Her column was always witty. Always insightful. Imagine my delight, when I heard her interviewed on NPR. Listening to her talk about Come to Me had me severly intrigued and I purchased it that afternoon. What a fascinating look at relationship dynamics -- I read it in a few hours. Her stories offer no apologies, only unflinching honesty. You often feel like you have happened upon people you shouldn't be overhearing as they work through their grief, anomisity, anger and fear. If you can read it with the open-mindedness Ms. Bloom intended, you will have read one of the best short story collections out there.
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Format: Paperback
Amy Bloom offers an insightful perspective into peoples' lives with this collection of short stories. She gives readers realistic & beautiful characters, unique plot lines, and lyrical writing. What amazed me most about this book was Ms. Bloom's willingness to expose her characters' emotions and flaws without explanation or apology. Through her wonderfully provocative writing style, Ms. Bloom allows readers to have their own reactions to her stories, and does so without judgment. Readers will appreciate the humanity in each of her characters.
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Format: Paperback
I found this collection by accident and didn't know what to expect. Short stories can be so good, or so bad. These stories are very good, consistently good. These are stories of people searching for something missing in their lives, well told stories with heart, soul and humor. Amy Bloom has quite a unique voice. The stories center on romantic love and family woes, but Bloom adds a spark of originality to otherwise common subject matters. My favorite stories are "Sleepwalking," "Henry and Marie," "The Sight of You," and "Semper Fidelis." If you're as enthusiastic about memorable, literary short stories as I am, then I recommend Come to Me most highly. Enjoy this collection.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Originally posted on my blog, The Reader's Commute.

Amy Bloom is a storyteller I turn to again and again; whether it's because I want a good cry or I want sentences so beautiful that they make me cry, Bloom does not disappoint. This summer I had the opportunity to read her 1993 short story collection, Come to Me.

The winning story in this collection was certainly "Silver Water," a piece that explores that relationship between a girl and her mentally-handicapped sister. As the narrator struggles to remember how her sister once was, her family tries to deal with the challenges that come along with caring for someone who is mentally ill. The opening of the story is beautiful, as the narrator reminisces about her sister's singing voice:
"My sister's voice was like mountain water in a silver pitcher; the clear blue beauty of it cools you and lifts you up beyond your heat, beyond your body. After we went to see La Traviata, when she was fourteen and I was twelve, she elbowed me in the parking lot and said, 'Check this out' And she opened her mouth unnaturally wide and her voice came out, so crystalline and bright that all the departing operagoers stood frozen by their cars, unable to take out their keys or open their doors until she had finished, and then they cheered like hell."
Bloom has been trained in psychotherapy, and this adds a refreshing depth to her writing. She clearly understands the motives and desires of the characters she creates, and the way these characters interact with each other is so true to life that it's almost frightening.

Bloom's stories often focus on love and complicated relationships, such as the relationship between a widow and her stepson in "Sleepwalking.
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Readers looking for characters they can "relate to" or clones of people they know in their own lives should probably move along. Bloom doesn't simply create believable characters; instead, she re-imagines real, messed-up people. These are everyday folks with anything but everyday lives. (Somehow I missed the fact--even though it's emblazoned right on the back cover--that Amy Bloom used to be a social worker practicing as a psychotherapist. Which explains a lot, actually, including the prevalence of therapists in the collection.) Some readers might argue--and some have--that the men and women in this collection are too extreme in their actions and reactions. Yet, as the dying mother of the opening story, "Love Is Not a Pie," explains her own acceptance of unconventional behavior, "People think it can't be that way but it can. You just have to find the right people."

And Bloom finds the right people. (The larger challenge, one supposes, is finding the right readers for these bleak, dark-humored stories.) Even the lesser stories here would be standouts in many other authors' collections. But four stories in particular are among the best I've read in years. The aforementioned "Love Is Not a Pie" portrays two daughters at their mother's funeral, when they discover uncomfortable truths about their parents' relationship. Death is often a catalyst in the stories: "Sleepwalking" also occurs after funeral, when a stepmother deals--poorly--with her stepson's sexual attraction for her.

The other two are from a trio of stories involving various generations of the same family. "Hyacinths" portrays an accidental childhood death, a young boy's guilt, a father's religious intransigence--all leading to the boy's rescue and redemption as an adult.
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