The Amy Hempel stories suck in that way that only well-crafted, carefully worded literary fiction can totally suck.
I kind of blame Thorough. His little phrase about leading lives of quiet desperation seems to pollute an entire genre of fiction with stories about ordinary people feeling their ordinary pain.
It’s beautifully-crafted drivel, self-importantly clever, and I post it here as a warning of elegant suck more than anything.
Right what else do we have in the pile… (Maybe something that doesn’t suck?)
D’Ambrosio has some interesting and fascinating stories in this collection, and a couple that are guilty of the same problem as above. On the whole, however, I’m down with this. The turkey hunting story was the best so far.
This book is awesome. Dan Simmons does an excellent job of capturing the 19th century, and his main characters never fail to surprise me with their humanity, self-blindness, and actions. When Dickens stopped to place handkerchiefs over the miscarried babies, instead of just waling on by, I was sold. Dickens turned to his bodyguard and told the guy to come back and bury the babies. The reader is aware that the bodyguard will do no such thing no matter what he says, but Dickens believes the man when he agrees. It’s a decently human act, and a naive act, and the moment I was sold on this book.
I’m about halfway, and I’m enjoying it. Will keep reading into the night.
What’s next for this book-hungry reading machine?
Glad you asked…
Diana Rowland’s latest is probably next. It looks like fun, and a nice escape away from the high literary fiction of late.
I also expect a bunch of books from Small Beer Press’ dollar book sale. Can’t for the life of me remember what I ordered, but I know it will be good because I’ve either read, or want to read, almost everything they’ve put out to date.
I have nothing clever or smart to say, at the moment. I just had surgery in my face, and I’m zonked on pain killers, and playing video games.