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The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel
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About the Author

Amy Hempel is the author of Sing to It, The Dog of the Marriage, Tumble Home, At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, Reasons to Live, and the coeditor of Unleashed. Her stories have appeared in Harper's, Vanity Fair, GQ, Tin House, The Harvard Review, The Quarterly, and have been widely anthologized, including Best American Short Stories and The Best Nonrequired Reading. She teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at Bennington College, and at Stony Brook Southampton. She lives near New York City.

Reviews

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 2006 Reed Business Information.

"This could be a very short review. Read this book. These stories are...always original and perfectly expressed." -- New York Times Book Review
"The literary event of the year." -- The Village Voice
"Amy Hempel's dazzling wit and exquisite use of language are impossible to disclaim." -- San Francisco Chronicle
"Hempel is unique. Her word-by-word virtuosity is off the charts; her artistic evolution is phenomenal." -- Chicago Tribune
"Hempel has established herself among the strongest voices in American fiction.... Hers is the work of a brave, unflinching mind.... Her prose conveys a world stripped to its essences." -- Los Angeles Times
"Over and over again, Hempel pulls out life's pathos so concisely, so extraordinarily, and yet underneath it all is affirmation.... In short, Hempel makes you into a better reader." -- San Francisco Chronicle
"A veritable cosmos of revelations is in reach in The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel." -- Chicago Tribune
"Few fiction writers are as intensely admired by their peers as is Hempel.... Hempel's is a hard-boiled sensibility, and each of her stories will leave the reader shaken." -- The Atlantic Monthly
"As gripping as any novel...Tart, shimmering fables of passion." -- The New York Observer
"It's a given that someday a major world religion will arise from this book. It will become a religious text for our descendants, and millions will burn candles around statues of Ms. Hempel. She is a wonder. Honestly, each time you read this book it shortens your time in Purgatory and speeds your eventual salvation." --Chuck Palahniuk, for The New York Post

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