Synopses & Reviews
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.
"[T]hese pinpointed stories achieve something more fleshed-out work often doesn't: they tell us not just what life is like but the authentic way to see it." D. T. Max, The New York Times Book Review
"Sketchy, in all, with moments of the breathtaking language that characterizes Hempel's best work." Kirkus Reviews
"Hempel handles the treatment of pain and love with a combination of confusion, resignation, and healthy respect. If this were music, it would be played in a modal tuning, dark and timeless." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Reading Amy Hempel's work is like inhabiting a stranger's body for a fleeting moment: we don't need names or physical descriptions and yet the understanding of that character of her history, her desires, her sorrows is profound. Each story in The Dog of Marriage achieves an intimacy in only a few hundred words that many novels fail to achieve in a few hundred pages." Tin House magazine
From one of the most highly acclaimed short story writers of the past three decades, a glittering collection about sex, marriage and dogs.
About the Author
Amy Hempel is the author of Tumble Home, Reasons to Live, and At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, and the coeditor of Unleashed. Her stories have appeared in Elle, GQ, Harper's, Playboy, The Quarterly, and Vanity Fair. She teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at Bennington College and lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Jesus Is Waiting
What Were the White Things?
The Dog of the Marriage