Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Short Story Wednesday, TUMBLE HOME, Amy Hempel


These are very short stories and a novella. They are often comprised of snatches of a conversation, fragments, so it is not always easy to summon up a theme. Does it need a point if it captures a moment, a truth? Some of them seem more like poems than stories. They take unexpected turns and then turn again. "How short is short?" she is asked in an interview. 

Here's one story "Memoir" 

Just once in my life, Oh, when I have ever wanted anything just once in my life?

That's is. Can you imagine the character? 

Kevin Tipple


George Kelley 

Paul Di Filippo 

Casual Debris


Margot Kinberg said...

That takes skill, Patti, to tell a story in so few words!

Diane Kelley said...

Diane's Book Club has read Amy Hempl.

Jeff Meyerson said...

That is short!

On Chris Offutt's recommendation, I'm reading Breece D'J Pancake's posthumous collection, THE STORIES OF BREECE D'J PANCAKE, published after his suicide at 26. He was from West Virginia, where most of his stories are set. I might have to reread some of them to get it. They are very well written but I have to say I am probably not the most receptive audience, and I can't really explain why.

Also reading JEWISH NOIR II, and the story that his the hardest (so far) is the first in the book, Steven Wishnia's "Taking Names." It starts with a discussion of the Triangle Factory fire in 1911, goes on to the horrors of trolls on the internet today, and ends...well, I don't want to give it away, but I would look for it if you could.

On a favorite different note, I enjoyed Jill D> Block's "Wishboned," about the narrator's bar mitzvah (I want to say in the '90s, but can't remember). Jeff Markowitz's "The Black and White Cookie" is short but makes its point.

Casual Debris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Casual Debris said...

[Sorry, posted prematurely.]

I've read Amy Hempel's first few collections and really enjoy some of the stories. "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried" is among my favourites. Even weaker stories in these early collections have good moments. I'm not familiar with this one. (Also, there appears to be a typo in her name.)

I was hoping to post something new last night but didn't have the chance. I do have a story from a couple days back:

Todd Mason said...

Featuring a guest post by the gracious ex-blogger, writer Paul Di Filippo today:

I can imagine the character Hempl suggests in the one-liner...I am that kind of character...

I've read her work, but would like to read a novella by her...I've read a few short stories, and (I believe) a few similar contributions to micro-story exercises similar to the one you quote...

...and thanks as always for the assembly here!

Todd Mason said...

Or, even, Hempel!

TracyK said...

That story is a bit short for me, but I am interested in trying that collection.

I read a very short story (online) recently by Dorothy Parker that I remember as just being the same sentence or paragraph over and over, but that isn't quite true. It was "A Telephone Call" and the woman is wanting the man to call, waiting for the call, praying for the call. Repetitive but it does portray the character well.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sorry, guys. I have had an apartment problem. My clothes dryer is apparently venting into my apartment. The dust is incredible. We cleaned all day. And to think I thought moving out of a house would put an the to this.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have a DP collection, I will look it up.
I will add, Todd.
I think Jill BLock is Larry's wife.

Todd Mason said...

Yikes, Patti. Sorry. Currently fighting with our dishwasher.

Todd Mason said...

And the dw, after a brief capitulation, is successfully fighting back.