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Reasons to Live by Amy Hempel

Reasons to Live (1985)

by Amy Hempel

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La Hempel nei suoi racconti più riusciti, soprattutto in quelli brevi di poche facciate, è riuscita a toccare nel profondo, a ulcerare. Le ragioni per vivere che danno il titolo alla raccolta in fondo sono solo piccoli, insignificanti, tenerissimi espedienti. Apprezzabilissima anche la sensibilità nei confronti degli animali.
Curiosamente, ma probabilmente è che sono bacato io, quasi sempre nei panni della protagonista mi figuravo la Kathy Bates di 'Pomodori verdi fritti', avete presente? :-) ( )
  downisthenewup | Aug 17, 2017 |
A collection of short stories around the idea of moments in life and death.

Almost poetical writing style and no wasted words. ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
Short stories aren't really my favourite genre. I liked the style and the themes and enjoyed the stories but wished that it was a novel with characters I could get to know and sympathise with. ( )
  sashinka | Jan 14, 2016 |
The writing in this collection is so simple, lacking any sense of pretension, but at the same time it's 100% moving and memorable and wonderful. "Nashville Gone to Ashes"; "Beg, Sl Tog, Inc, Cont, Rep"; and "The Man in Bogotá" were probably my favorites, but each story has at least one line that is truly remarkable. ( )
  andrewreads | May 16, 2014 |
Some brilliant stories, and some that suffered from Hempel's clipped style. Hempel's one fault is that her stories come across formulaic and overly constructed. The thoughts and sentences are beautiful, but it never feels like a real world in the way of, say, Carver. Instead it feels like I'm reading the fiction of a very clever 30-year old. I guess my point is that the stories FEEL like stories, all written by the same woman. In fact, a few of the most acclaimed stories in the collection---San Francisco---came across as nothing more than a scene. I get her technical point. You're supposed to glean a greater series of events from a few little details, and it is a neat technique employed by others like Carver or Robison, but some of these stories come across as a little too obvious. It's as if Hempel's entire purpose is to plant these tiny facts, so that the reader goes, Wow, this character ha issue with her sister. For instance, in San Fran, a story about an earthquake, the details of the catastrophe are spliced with little hints that the sisters were fighting for their dying father's possessions. As a writerly technique, this approach is brilliant (if not overdone in the last 25 years); however, the stories do not bloom at all, and feel as if their entire purpose is to allow the writer a space to tease out the borderline details of a traditional narrative. The problem is that most of the time the stories came across as thinly-veiled attempts to create a mystery that wasn't there. The true beauty of minimalism is through the interplay of withheld information and a traditional plot (see Hannah, Carver, etc..), but here Hempel usually provides only the peripheral details. The stories were beautiful in places,

Another detracting aspect is Hempel's literary voice. It seems as if each story is being told by the same woman (even the stories about men), in the same voice and style. The effect is one 'sameness' between all the stories that sort of exacerbates the technical minimalism I mentioned earlier. Remember that this was her first collection, and her later works seem to be fleshed out just a little more, which gives the impression of seeing only part of someone's life (a voyeuristic thrill), whereas here, it feels more like a writer trying to be coy/quirky. ( )
  blanderson | Mar 4, 2014 |
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In these times, a lack of concern for others is a hallmark of mental illness.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060976721, Paperback)

Hempel's now-classic collection of short fiction is peopled by complex characters who have discovered that their safety nets are not dependable and who must now learn to balance on the threads of wit, irony, and spirit.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:04 -0400)

Hempel's now-classic collection of short fiction is peopled by complex characters who have discovered that their safety nets are not dependable and who must now learn to balance on the threads of wit, irony, and spirit.

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