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Book Talk 38: The Collected Stories...

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The book: The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel-Amy Hempel

This is a tough, touch book to talk about because it's not so much one book, as a collection of what appears to be every Amy Hempel short story ever published. Which is quite a lot to take in, especially for my first Hempel book. It was probably a bad idea reading the whole thing without taking a break in between story collections...and as a result, many of the stories got jumbled up in my mind.

It does, however, happily identify Amy Hempel's style, a sort of darting, rambling exploration of the human condition and emotions. Reoccuring themes were the likes of deep man/woman relationships, the quality of animals, confused minds, broken pasts, all sorts of things that might have appeared mundane but gets an air of art with Hempel's writing. She's simplistic and minimalistic in her approach, but catches on every detail and records accurate visions of reality. There's something poetic in her deep delve into the various narrators' minds, and even the time flashes that can sometimes result in a confusing plot, but fasinating reading.

Anyway, this thing, as a whole, was probably too much to digest. Sometimes I felt this emptiness after finishing a story, this mild confusion as to what it was all about. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be there. Sometimes I really liked the stories, sometimes I could barely wait to get on to the next one. I can't think of anything super intelligent say regarding this, and I can't really justify all the praise I read on the introduction. But I can say that I enjoyed it, and sometimes, even when it comes to supposed literary master writers like Amy Hempel, even that's enough.



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