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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel

book review amy hempel collected short stories I have never been a big fan of the Modern Short Story genre even though I read short stories on and off... I enjoy the wit and surprise endings of some of O.Henry's, the down-to-earth and human portrayals by R.K.Narayan, among others.

I hadn't read Amy Hempel before and was curious.

And, almost always I end up liking only about 5% of the pieces collected in some editions of "collected short stories"... This collection was no exception.

I have mixed feelings about this book, though.

Short stories are tricky: it can either have a brilliant plot all packed into 4-5 pages of story-telling, or it can have no real plot but brimming with brilliant writing exploring depths of human emotions in anecdotal style...

Some of the stories in this collection were simply lost on me. I did not see the point of it all. Either the stories are deceptively simple and I am missing the hidden treasures, or I am looking for something that isn't there...

Or, it is simply a matter of taste...

As this book is a collected short stories of all her original published work so far, I think after reading it I can safely say that I am not a big fan of the writing: it did not move me, it did not make me think, it did not make me want more, it did not make me sit at my keyboard and tap away fervently hoping to produce something good...

Described as "minimalist" writing, some of the stories in this Collected Stories were only about 1 page long!

However, the writing was dense and pithy at times. Some of the sentences were just too perfect - like a sculptor chiseled away all the excesses till only the sublime figurine was left behind.

D is more an intellectual reader than an emotional reader (in my opinion), but, at my request he did read a story or two in this book to give me his take on it. He felt the way I did.

I guess I expected something else based on the reviews, but, nonetheless, I think it was time well-spent.

Amy Hempel's writing style is definitely worth reading, even if it doesn't make you a big fan.

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Blogger Anil P said...

Ever tried reading Ambrose Bierce?

4:26 PM  

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