Author bio

Amy Hempel

Amy Hempel - book author

Amy Hempel is an American short story writer, journalist, and university professor at Brooklyn College. Hempel was a former student of Gordon Lish, who eventually helped her publish her first collection of short stories. Hempel has been published in Harper's, Vanity Fair, GQ, and Bomb. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as the Ambassador Book Award in 2007, the Rea Award for the Short Story in 2008, and the Pen/Malamud Award for short fiction in 2009.

Amy Hempel is the author of books: The Collected Stories, Reasons to Live, Tumble Home: A Novella and Short Stories, The Dog of the Marriage: Stories, At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom: Stories, Sing to It: New Stories, Unleashed: Poems by Writers' Dogs, In The Cemetery Where Al Jolsen is Buried, New Stories from the South 2010: The Year's Best, The Best Small Fictions 2017


Author books

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01
The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel gathers together the complete work of a writer whose voice is as singular and astonishing as any in American fiction. Hempel, fiercely admired by writers and reviewers, has a sterling reputation that is based on four very short collections of stories, roughly fifteen thousand stunning sentences, written over a period of nearly three decades. These are stories about people who make choices that seem inevitable, whose longings and misgivings evoke eternal human experience. With compassion, wit, and the acutest eye, Hempel observes the marriages, minor disasters, and moments of revelation in an uneasy America. When "Reasons to Live, " Hempel's first collection, was published in 1985, readers encountered a pitch-perfect voice in fiction and an unsettling assessment of the culture. That collection includes "San Francisco," which Alan Cheuse in "The Chicago Tribune" called "arguably the finest short story composed by any living writer." In "At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, " her second collection, frequently compared to the work of Raymond Carver, Hempel refined and developed her unique grace and style and her unerring instinct for the moment that defines a character. Also included here, in their entirety, are the collections "Tumble Home" and "The Dog of the Marriage." As Rick Moody says of the title novella in Tumble Home, "the leap in mastery, in seriousness, and sheer literary purpose was inspiring to behold.... And yet," he continues, ""The Dog of the Marriage, " the fourth collection, is even better than the other three...a triumph, in fact." "The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel" is the perfect opportunity for readers of contemporary American fiction to catch up to one of its masters. Moody's passionate and illuminating introduction celebrates both the appeal and the importance of Hempel's work.
02
It is always "earthquake weather" in Amy Hempel's California, a landscape where everything can change without warning. Traditional resources—home, parents, lovers, friends, even willpower—are not dependable. And so the characters in these short, compelling stories have learned to depend on small triumphs of wit, irony, and spirit.

A widow, surrounded by a small menagerie, comes to terms with her veterinarian husband's death; a young woman entertains her dying friend with trivia and reaffirms her own life; in the aftermath of an abortion, a woman compulsively knits a complete wardrobe for a friend's baby. Buffeted by rude shocks, thwarted by misconnections, the characters recognize that anything can finally become a reason to live.
03
Critically acclaimed master of the short story Amy Hempel’s Tumble Home is narrated by people with skewed visions of home. Not exactly crazy, they become obsessed and irrational as their inner logic leads them astray. In the title novella, a woman living in a psychiatric halfway house writes to a man she has met only once. Proceeding in brief vignettes that link and illuminate, she recounts her peculiar life with the other patients. The accretions of anecdote lead deeper and deeper into the psyche and history of the narrator, gradually revealing the reason for her urgent letter.
04
Amy Hempel's compassion, intensity, and illuminating observations have made her one of the most distinctive and admired modern writers. In three stunning books of stories, she has established a voice as unique and recognizable as the photographs of Cindy Sherman or the brushstrokes of Robert Motherwell. The Dog of the Marriage, Hempel's fourth collection, is about sexual obsession, relationships gone awry, and the unsatisfied longings of everyday life.

In "Offertory," a modern-day Scheherazade entertains and manipulates her lover with stories of her sexual encounters with a married couple as a very young woman. In "Reference # 388475848-5," a letter contesting a parking ticket becomes a beautiful and unnerving statement of faith. In "Jesus Is Waiting," a woman driving to New York sends a series of cryptically honest postcards to an old lover. And the title story is a heartbreaking tale about the objects and animals and unmired desires that are left behind after death or divorce.

These nine stories teem with wisdom, emotion, and surprising wit. Hempel explores the intricate psychology of people falling in and out of love, trying to locate something or someone elusive or lost. Her sentences are as lean, original, and startling as any in contemporary fiction.

05
Here the very talented Hempel works in a hard-bitten, often mannered mode with material made familiar in her first book, Reasons to Live . The stories in her new collection follow people through crises and emergencies, from traffic accidents to mastectomies, as they take risks, waiting "for the moment that would snap me out of my seeming life" yet frequently "cut off from meaning and completion" in the end. A housewife in "Under No Moon" is mysteriously bent on seeing a comet, but in a minor comedy of errors fails to do so. The earnest and foolish young mother in "The Center" attempts to sponsor a destitute child, all the while behaving with the self-serving zeal of a super-yuppie consumer. In "The Harvest," one of the strongest stories, a narrator reconstructs, then deconstructs, the events leading up to and following a motorcycle injury that leaves a lasting psychological wound. Mordant and unsentimental, Hempel works with a sharp wit that sometimes shaves away too ruthlessly at characters, limiting the depth of her sympathy--and ours.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
06
All the tawdry details I’m dying for are in these stories, but they’re given out like old sweaters—without shame, without guile. Amy Hempel is the writer who makes me feel most affiliated with other humans; we are all living this way—hiding, alone, obsessed—and that’s ok.” —Miranda July

From legendary writer Amy Hempel, one of the most celebrated and original voices in American short fiction: a ravishing, sometimes heartbreaking new story collection—her first in over a decade.

Amy Hempel is a master of the short story. A multiple award winner, Hempel is highly regarded among writers, reviewers, and readers of contemporary fiction. This new collection, her first since her Collected Stories published more than a decade ago, is a literary event.

These fifteen exquisitely honed stories reveal Hempel at her most compassionate and spirited, as she introduces characters, lonely and adrift, searching for connection. In “A Full-Service Shelter,” a volunteer at a dog shelter tirelessly, devotedly cares for dogs on a list to be euthanized. In “Greed,” a spurned wife examines her husband’s affair with a glamorous, older married woman. And in “Cloudland,” the longest story in the collection, a woman reckons with the choice she made as a teenager to give up her newborn infant. Quietly dazzling, these stories are replete with moments of revelation and transcendence and with Hempel’s singular, startling, inimitable sentences.
07
Now in paperback, an irresistible gift for dog lovers: poems from the dogs' point of view, written by the well known writers and poets who love them.

List of contributors:
Edward Albee,  Jennifer Allen,  Danny Anderson,  Lynda Barry,  Rick Bass,  Charles Baxter,  Robert Benson,  Roy Blount, Jr., Ron Carlson,  Jill Ciment,  Bernard Cooper,  Stephen Dobyns,   Mark Doty,   Stephen Dunn,   Anderson Ferrell,  Amy Gerstler, Matthew Graham,   Ron Hansen,   Brooks Haxton,   Cynthia Heimel,   Amy Hempel,   Noy Hollan,   Andrew Hudgins,   John Irving, Denis Johnson,  R.S. Jones,   Walter Kirn,  Sheila Kohler,   Maxine Kumin,  Natalie Kusz,  Anne Lamott,   Gordon Lish,  Ralph Lombreglia, Merrill Markoe,  Pearson Marx,  Erin McGraw,  Heather McHugh,   Arthur Miller,  George Minot,  Susan Minot,   Honor Moore, Mary Morris,  Alicia Muñoz,  Elise Paschen,  Padgett Powell,  Wyatt Prunty,  Lawrence Raab,  Mark Richard,   John Rybicki, Jeanne Schinto,  Bob Shacochis,  Jim Shepard,   Karen Shepard,  Lee Smith,  Ben Sonnenberg,  Kate Clark Spencer,  Gerald Stern,
Terese Svoboda,  William Tester,  Abigail Thomas,  Lily Tuck,  Sidney Wade,  Kathryn Walker,  William Wegman
09
Over the past twenty-five years, New Stories from the South has published the work of now well-known writers, including James Lee Burke, Andre Dubus, Barbara Kingsolver, John Sayles, Joshua Ferris, and Abraham Verghese and nurtured the talents of many others, including Larry Brown, Jill McCorkle, Brock Clarke, Lee Smith, and Daniel Wallace.

This twenty-fifth volume reachs out beyond the South to one of the most acclaimed short story writers of our day. Guest editor Amy Hempel admits, “I’ve always had an affinity for writers from the South,” and in her choices, she’s identified the most inventive, heartbreaking, and chilling stories being written by Southerners all across the country.

From the famous (Rick Bass, Wendell Berry, Elizabeth Spencer, Wells Tower, Padgett Powell, Dorothy Allison, Brad Watson) to the finest new talents, Amy Hempel has selected twenty-five of the best, most arresting stories of the past year. The 2010 collection is proof of the enduring vitality of the short form and the vigor of this ever-changing yet time-honored series.
10
The Best Small Fictions 2017 offers readers 55 exceptional small fictions by 53 authors. This acclaimed new annual series, hailed as a “milestone for the short story,” continues to honor contemporary masters and emerging writers of short-short and hybrid forms from across the globe. Guest editor Amy Hempel chose the winners from a pool of 105 finalists: “They conjure and seduce, they startle and haunt, they are funny and searing, short and shorter.” The 2017 volume includes Pamela Painter, Brian Doyle, Ian Seed, Frankie McMillan, Karen Brennan, Stuart Dybek, and W. Todd Kaneko, and spotlights Joy Williams and SmokeLong Quarterly.

Featuring Small Fictions by: Nick Admussen ~ Nick Almeida ~ Lydia Armstrong ~ Matthew Baker ~ Amy Sayre Baptista ~ Karen Brennan ~ Larry Brown ~ Randall Brown ~ Erin Calabria ~ Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello ~ Carrie Cooperider ~ Emily Corwin ~ Christopher DeWan ~ Brian Doyle ~ Stuart Dybek ~ Kathy Fish ~ Sherrie Flick ~ Scott Garson ~ Jesse Goolsby ~ Michael Hammerle ~ Hannah Harlow ~ Allegra Hyde ~ W. Todd Kaneko ~ Joy Katz ~ Jen Knox ~ Len Kuntz ~ Tara Laskowski ~ Oscar Mancinas ~ Ras Mashramani ~ Frankie McMillan ~ Heather McQuillan ~ Cole Meyer ~ Eugenie Montague ~ Pamela Painter ~ Alvin Park ~ Kimberly King Parsons ~ Gen Del Raye ~ Mona Leigh Rose ~ Na’amen Gobert Tilahun ~ Cameron Quincy Todd ~ Matt Sailor ~ Rebecca Schiff ~ Robert Scotellaro ~ Ian Seed ~ Alex Simand ~ Julia Slavin ~ Michael C. Smith ~ Phillip Sterling ~ Anne Valente ~ Harriot West ~ Joy Williams ~ Keith Woodruff ~ William Woolfitt