Thursday, November 1, 2007

Go read Amy Hempel

I don't know exactly why I love Amy Hempel's writing, but I do. I love it. It's beautiful and funny and sad and true. Her books are full of short stories in the truest sense. It's not a novel condensed into ten pages. It's a slice of life, one scene, a few moments, deliberately chosen details that break your heart without really ever letting you know why. Even now, having read her stories seven times over, they still give me chills.

I managed to find "The Harvest" online. Read it. You can spare the minutes.

In her collected works, Hempel thanks Gordon Lish, her teacher of minimalism and her first editor. Slate has a piece (sort of) about Lish on their front page today that was a fun read.

I've had urges to explore the other minimalist writers whose work Lish has guided. But part of me knows that, if I do, I may never be able to read a normal novel again.


j_ay said...

Read some Raymond Carver next.
Between him and Hempel you've read the cream of the crop.

for a novel in the same vein/vain Mary Robison's _Why Did I Ever?_ is a huge hit with Hempel, and she uses it in class often.
Worth checking out.

sai said...

Thanks for the recommendations! I'll keep my eyes open for them.