is the author of Come to Me
, a National Book Award finalist; A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You
, nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Love Invents Us
; and Normal
. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Short Stories, The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction
, and many other anthologies here and abroad. Bloom teaches creative writing at Yale University.
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Describe your latest project.
[From the publisher:] Big, passionate, funny, moving and written in Amy Bloom's distinctive voice, Away is the story of young Lillian Leyb, a dangerous innocent, an accidental heroine. After her family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian comes to America determined to make her way in the new land. Her adventures as both seamstress and mistress in the world of the Yiddish theater on New York's Lower East Side are cut short when Lillian discovers that her daughter may still be alive. Lillian embarks on an unforgettable quest to find her Sophie, an odyssey that takes her from New York, across America, to Seattle's Jazz District and on up to Alaska, along the fabled Telegraph Trail toward Siberia.
All of the qualities readers love in Amy Bloom's work ? her humor and wit, her elegant and irreverent language, her wonderful storytelling, her unflinching understanding of passion and the human heart ? come together in this brilliant novel.
What's the strangest or most interesting job you've ever had?
The most interesting job I've ever had was working as a shill for a fortune teller in Greenwich Village bringing the worried, the uncertain, and the deeply distressed to Madame Rosa. All of my other jobs ? farm hand, tutor for autistic children, waitress, bartender, psychotherapist, novelist, and television writer have been pretty interesting, too.
Describe the best breakfast of your life. What is your idea of absolute happiness? What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?
(All the same question, as far as I'm concerned.)
A little good champagne, real bacon, When Pigs Fly rye bread. In bed next to the man I love when I should be at work.
Dogs, cats, budgies, or turtles?
None of the above. I have three children.
What makes your favorite pair of shoes better than the rest?
This is worse than asking which child do you prefer or which of your books is the best. I love my motorcycle boots for obvious reasons. I love my gold wedge sandals for obvious reasons. I am also extremely fond of, and even deeply committed to, my high brown leather boots with the caramel stripe up the center and four-inch heels, which I bought expressly to cheer up a man who was dying.
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
"I didn't have the nerve to do what came next, so I had to do it without the nerve."
? Paula Fox
Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book with which to start.
Rebecca Brown is not nearly as well-known as she should be, but those who know her work treasure it. I would suggest beginning with Gifts of the Body.
Writers are better liars than other people: true or false?
They had better be.
Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.
Five books that bear rereading:
Geoffrey Wolff, Duke of Deception
Jane Austen, Persuasion
Wislawa Szymborska, Poems: New and Collected
J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace
Jane Hirshfield, Given Sugar, Given Salt