Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Report: Weekend


I decided to conclude my month of love stories with a happy ending, or at least a happy feeling. "Weekend", from Tumble Home, a collection of short stories by the incomparable Amy Hempel, is simple and warm and bright and happy. And it makes me happy. Of course, when I say simple, I mean deceptively so. If you've ever read anything by Amy Hempel, you're probably aware that she has the gift for making big moments small and small moments big. Some people find her style a little off-putting, but I adore her...

P.S. The excerpt below is what I read at my dear friends' (Dan and Rachel) wedding.


Dinner was a simple picnic on the porch, paper plates in laps, the only conversation a debate as to which was the best grip for throwing shoes.

After dinner, the horseshoes were handed out, the post pounded in, the rules reviewed with a new rule added due to falling-down shorts. The new rule: Have attire.

The women smoked on the porch, the smoke repelling mosquitoes, and the men and children played on even after dusk when it got so dark that a candle was rigged to balance on top of the post, and was knocked off and blown out by every single almost-ringer.

Then the children went to bed, or at least went upstairs, and the men joined the women for a cigarette on the porch, absently picking ticks engorged like grapes off the sleeping dogs. And when the men kissed the women good night, and their weekend whiskers scratched the women's cheeks, the women did not think shave, they thought: stay. --Amy Hempel



Remember at the top of this post when I said Amy Hempel was incomparable? Well, she is. But there are a couple people who are, though unalike stylistically, along the same lines of genius as Amy Hempel. Number one on my list is Alice Munro. Number two would be Raymond Carver. Pick up one of their short story collections, read, and fall in love.

1. Two girls, by Anne Steele; 2. Candles, via Bloom; 3. Chocolate Cosmos, via The Sun Also Sets; 4. Pioneer quilt, via Indigo Crossing; 5. Door, by Rachel JW; 6. Grain sack stair runner, via A Well Traveled Woman; 7. Straw hat, by les temps sont durs pour les rêveurs; 8. Emerson Made shirt, via Modern Hepburn; 9. Sunglasses, by Me & My Bentley; 10. Whiskers, via Bees Like Honey, Now Isn't That Funny; 11. Beer and cigarettes, via Alpha | Beta; 12. Pouring spirits, by Cloak and Dapper.

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