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Where the God of Love Hangs Out: Fiction (Random House Reader's Circle) Paperback – January 11, 2011
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Short Is Good
I have loved short stories since I was a girl reading Hawthorne and Poe. Melville was a little sophisticated for me; I had to wait until I was a sulky teenager to love “Bartleby the Scrivener,” and then I took to walking around the house murmuring “I would prefer not to.” My father, a Melville admirer, begged for mercy. At the same time that I was reading the great American 19th century short story, I was also discovering my father’s library of pre- and post-World War II wits. Dorothy Parker was not just the funny, brittle woman at the Algonquin Table; she knew sadness and self-deception from the inside out and she could put it on the page with painful, personal frankness and not a bit of self-preserving paint or pretense. Her sentences are wry, but they bleed (“The Big Blonde”). I read S.J. Perelman, the Jewish smart-aleck of “Westward Ha!” and Robert Benchley, the urbane gentleman who could keep his head and his martini, even on an ice floe. (“Drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin with, it’s just compounding a felony.”) I read odd, funny, sometimes disturbing James Thurber and used his “In the Catbird Seat” to plan my comeuppance of my high school principal. The great pleasure for me in writing short stories is the fierce, elegant challenge. Writing short stories requires Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart and some help from Gregory Hines. We are the cat burglars of the business: in and out in a relatively short time, quietly dressed (not for us the grand gaudiness of 600 pages and a riff on our favorite kind of breakfast cereal) to accomplish something shocking—and lasting—without throwing around the furniture. Flannery O’Connor (a reliable source when appreciating the short story) wrote that short stories deliver “the experience of surprise”. The surprise, I think, is that so few pages can contain so much, that what is taken to be a prism turns out to be not only a window, but a door, as well. If you’re an American reader, you can love short stories the way other Americans love baseball; this is our game, people! We have more than two hundred years of know-how and knack, of creativity. Of the folksy and the hip, of traditional yarn-spinning and innovative flourishes. Of men and women, of war and loss and love, with a few ghosts and many roads not taken. And in all of that, you will find some of the funniest and most heartbreaking fiction, ever. (You could take a break right now and go find Parker’s “The Waltz” and Carver’s “Cathedral”.) Short stories have no net. The writer cannot take a leisurely sixty pages to get things moving, or make a side trip onto a barely related subject, or slack off in the last forty pages. Everything is right now, right here, in the reader’s grasp and mind’s eye. The writer has 20 to thirty pages to entice, seduce, enter and alter the reader. For me, the short story is the depth of a novel, the breadth of a poem and, as you come to the last few paragraphs, the experience of surprise. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
WHERE THE GOD OF LOVE HANGS OUT is an often funny, always awe-inspiring journey into the lives of very different American families who experience the common traumas of life, such as aging and death. Throughout the eras, we see these families growing up and growing apart, falling in love, cheating, and learning to live with --- and without --- one another. Every moment is authentic, genuine and utterly unique. Bloom's quiet mastery of her craft takes us into the heart of a group of human beings who will feel like members of your own family by the time the last page is turned.
One such group is best friends Claire and William. William is an overweight bon vivant with a penchant for cigars, comfort foods and said best friend. Although they are married to kind, attractive and doting people, their attraction to each other gets the best of them, and they launch a full-fledged infidelity attack during a late-night movie viewing. Their affair continues for some time, despite both of them having what seems like very loving marriages. Eventually, they extricate themselves from their marriages and come together only to find out that happily isn't really ever after. Do they deserve what they get? Is there any hope for a relationship created on lies and deception? There are no judgments here, no aspersions cast --- Bloom just offers the emotional parameters that define their choices and allows the reader to make their own decisions about the consequences.Read more ›
The book is divided into two primary sequences of stories chronicling two rather unusual couples, punctuated by several shorter stand-alone pieces. Characters are often well developed and detailed, and the manifestations of love are, of course, interesting and compelling in their own way. But where Bloom falls short is in her efforts to make them likable, to draw us in and force us to invest ourselves in their troubles and triumphs.
The first sequence follows William and Clare, aging extramarital lovers whose respective spouses are more suited for each other than for them. The second follows Lionel and Julia, a stepmother/stepson pair brought together by a connection that I never entirely bought into. These relationships are ambitious in scope, and occasionally they do ring true enough to move the reader, but a great deal of time is spent on circumstances surrounding the love, so that almost no attention is paid to the love itself. The characters that result are often hollow and bare, in spite of the careful effort on the part of the author to flesh them out and make them come alive for us.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book and thought the characters were realistic and interesting . This book made me feel like I was there.Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
I'm a late-comer to Amy Bloom, and that means I've got some catching up to do. Now that I've discovered this wonderful author, one of my goals in life will have to be reading... Read morePublished 19 months ago by K. Bunker
okay stories, a little disjointed however and felt like there were missing pieces - this was purchased accidentally and felt it was entirely too expensive for the valuePublished 22 months ago by Joan2E
Don't waste your money. Didn't like the self-indulgent and slimy characters, or the author's voice.Published 22 months ago by L. Brown
I hate short stories. I was so confused when the first story ended and the second started. I thought at some point they would intersect but by the time I was 40% done with the book... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Jill A Dillon
Great stories about human relationship. Great writing and touching narrative.
Thanks for sharing.
Could not put it down. Recommended reading!
The author grabbed my attention with the first line. These are no sappy love stories. The characters are real and fascinating. My only wish is that Ms. Read morePublished on February 17, 2014 by Jo