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Amy Hempel (1 Viewer)


Senior Member

"In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried" is magnificent. The fact that it's the first story she ever wrote distressed me for quite some time, since my first short story was a POS, and so I felt really quite jealous that she managed to pick it up instantly. After I read it, it honestly killed my writing for a while. Like, why bother?

"The Harvest" is another notable one, and one you can even read for free online: The Harvest : Macro-Fiction by Amy Hempel

There are plenty of other stories by her, of course, but these are the two that linger in my mind. It's been a while since I read her. I've gone through two of her collections (Reasons to Live, and At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom), which I believe are her first two. Haven't read any of the newer stuff. I should probably give it a try. In a way, what I both like and dislike about her writing is that at times it's brilliant (the couple stories mentioned above), and at other times it totally fizzles and does nothing for me (plenty of stories, most of which are extremely short and ineffectual, and which I've long since forgotten). She has always seemed very hit-and-miss to me, but her hits are big ones, so I can forgive the misses pretty easily.


Senior Member

Funny -- I came across that story somewhere a few months ago -- Googling something. I think it was just a link page of free online stories. I liked it but didn't make a note of the author.

I will check her out.


Curious why it's called macro-fiction -- to me, macro mean large.