In condensed, often poetic prose, short story master Amy Hempel has produced a striking collection. She takes her relatable, painfully human characters—who are filled with as many flaws as anyone you might know—and brings them to life. With precision, she manages to omit all the right details, leaving enough gaps for mystery, truth, and allure. This collection is uniquely human and challenging. I was left thinking about the characters, who I swear I know somehow.
"All the tawdry details I'm dying for are in these stories, but they're given out like old sweaters--without shame, without guile. Amy Hempel is the writer whomakes me feel most affiliated with other humans; we are all living this way--hiding, alone, obsessed--and that's ok." --Miranda JulyFrom legendary writer Amy Hempel, one of the most celebrated and original voices in American short fiction: a ravishing, sometimes heartbreaking new story collection--her first in over a decade.Amy Hempel is a master of the short story. A multiple award winner, Hempel is highly regarded among writers, reviewers, and readers of contemporary fiction. This new collection, her first since her Collected Stories published more than a decade ago, is a literary event. These fifteen exquisitely honed stories reveal Hempel at her most compassionate and spirited, as she introduces characters, lonely and adrift, searching for connection. In "A Full-Service Shelter," a volunteer at a dog shelter tirelessly, devotedly cares for dogs on a list to be euthanized. In "Greed," a spurned wife examines her husband's affair with a glamorous, older married woman. And in "Cloudland," the longest story in the collection, a woman reckons with the choice she made as a teenager to give up her newborn infant. Quietly dazzling, these stories are replete with moments of revelation and transcendence and with Hempel's singular, startling, inimitable sentences.