The Collected Short Stories of Amy Hempel: A Review

The Collected Short Stories of Amy Hempel, written by Amy Hempel of course, was raved by NY Times as one of the top ten books of the year last year. In a writing style that is unique, sharp and tight as can be, Amy Hempel writes of everyday events in such colors that the life meaning of the story bleeds out to you.

I'm one who typically likes long descriptive passages. I like writing that is clear and and written a bit elaborately. Amy Hempel is not this type of writer. And it is because of this that it took a while for me to get into her stories. There were some stories that were no more than two pages long and after reading the story a couple of times all I could come up with is: WTF? She has a randomness and a shortness with her stories that leaves a lot up for the readers' deliberation, and this usually drives me nuts! However, as I read on, I was able to get into her rhythm (and she definitely creates a rhythm in her stories!) I grew to appreciate her subtle writing style, the things she does not say but you understand completely. There is definitely a beauty to the subtle writing, the short and quick style. Her stories are often simple and seem to have a simple or even no plot, but they always have some statement or thought on life. Hempel often leaves us with a question on life with no answers.

I can see why her book of short stories was popular, not only is it unique, but it is also like a clear stream of water. Refreshing and crisp.


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