Authors & Books…Amy Hempel

Amy Hempel is a fabulous writer – her work moves you in ways obvious and subtle. You should read a story or a line and live with it. Sparse and yet rich with meaning – she writes some of the most lovely sentences I have ever read. Concise and precise.

You can read a review of her book “The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel” that appeared in the New York Times here.

Right now I am listening to her read some of her stories here on Wired For Books.

And this is one of her short stories, in it’s entirety. Lovesome what a beautiful word she created, what an image.


By Amy Hempel

Every time you see a beautiful woman, someone is tired of her, so the men say. And I know where they go, these women, with their tired beauty that someone doesn’t want-these women who must live like the high Sierra white pine, there since before the birth of Christ, fed somehow by the alpine wind.
They reach out to the animals, day after day smoothing fur inside a cage, saying, “How is Mama’s baby? Is Mama’s baby lonesome?”
The women leave at the end of the day, stopping to ask an attendant, “Will they go to good homes?” And come back in a day or so, stooping to examine a one-eyed cat, asking, as though they intend to adopt, “How would I introduce a new cat to my dog?”
But there is seldom an adoption; it matters that the women have someone to leave, leaving behind the lovesome creatures who would never leave them, had they once given them their hearts.


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