The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel

I’ve written a few more staff recommendations over the past couple of weeks. Here’s one of them, for Amy Hempel’s collected stories.

When I fall in love with a book, I’m overwhelmed by the need to read it aloud to people. The better the writing, the wider the circle I want to read it to, and Amy Hempel’s stories are so good that if someone loaned me a stadium, I’d take them to the masses.

Then again, I’m not sure these weird, elegant, breathtaking stories are really meant for the megaphone. They’re the stuff of conversation, built of things you accidentally overhear and then can’t get out of your head. Reading them I felt like an eavesdropper, maybe the luckiest eavesdropper in the world.

Just try reading ‘Why I’m Here,’ ‘Nashville Gone to Ashes’ or the one-sentence ‘Memoir,’ and tell me you don’t feel the need to tap someone on the shoulder and say ‘Hey, listen to this…’


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