“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 July
From 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.
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.
"Gorgeously distilled, archly witty, and daringly empathetic tales...Hempel is a master miniaturist, capturing in exquisitely nuanced sentences the sensuous, cerebral, and spiritual cascade of existence, homing in on pain and humor and the wisdom each can engender." —Booklist
"Short story virtuoso Hempel's first collection since 2006 consists of 15 characteristically bold, disconcerting, knockout stories that highlight her signature style with its condensed prose, quirky narrators, and touching, disturbing, transcendent moments." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A dizzying array of short fiction...Hempel packs a lot into her narrow spaces: nuance, longing, love, and loss. The brilliance of the writing resides in the way Hempel manages to tell us everything in spite of her narrator's reticence, teaching us to read between the lines." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
PRAISE FOR THE COLLECTED STORIES OF AMY HEMPEL:
"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, The New York Post
"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