Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Book Review: Collected Stories of Amy Hempel

The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel by Amy Hempel

In a recent Barnes & Noble Meet the Writers interview, Chuck Palahniuk
said that he rips off every word from Amy Hempel. This might explain why I enjoyed her work so much more than his. Imitation retains its false nature. Hempel's works are indeed electric and, though one can see influential, guiding hand of Gordon Lish, they are unique. These stories are at times short, sparse, and severe, but they are not reminiscent of Raymond Carver. The wit displayed in these stories is amazing. They are amazingly quotable. Unfortunately, I was reading a library copy and couldn't pickup my pen to mark it up. I was anticipating purchasing the paperback edition, but because the hardcover continues to sell the release was pushed back.

In the end, though, most of these stories are like nouveau cuisine. The items are small, the presentation is exciting, and the tastes are unique and amazing, but in the end they are not entirely satisfying.

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