A great short story has the emotional depth and intensity of a poem and the wholeness and breadth of a novel. Amy Bloom writes great short stories. Her first collection, Come to Me, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and here she deepens and extends her mastery of the form.
Real people inhabit these pages, the people we know and are, the people we long to be and are afraid to be: a mother and her brave, smart little girl, each coming to terms with the looming knowledge that the little girl will become a man; a wildly unreliable narrator bent on convincing us that her stories are not harmless; a woman with breast cancer, a frightened husband, and a best friend, all discovering that their lifelong triangle is not what they imagined; a man and his stepmother engaged in a complicated dance of memory, anger, and forgiveness. Amy Bloom takes us straight to the center of these lives with rare generosity and sublime wit, in flawless prose that is by turns sensuous, spare, heartbreaking, and laugh-out-loud funny.
These are transcendent stories: about the uncertain gestures of love, about the betrayals and gifts of the body, about the surprises and bounties of the heart, and about what comes to us unbidden and what we choose.
A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You
Jane Spencer collects pictures of slim young men. In the bottom drawer of her desk, between swatches of silk and old business cards for Spencer Interiors, she has two photos of James Dean, one of a deeply wistful Jeremy Irons in Brideshead, arm in arm with the boy holding the teddy bear, a sepia print of Rudolph Valentino in 1923, without burnoose or eyeliner, B. D. Wong's glossies as Song Liling and as his own lithe, androgynous self, and Robert Mapplethorpe slipping sweetly out of his jeans in 1972. She has a pictorial history of Kevin Bacon, master of the transition from elfin boy to good-looking man without adding bulk or facial hair.
The summer Jessie Spencer turned five, she played Capture the Flag every day with the big boys, the almost-six-year-olds who'd gone to kindergarten a year late. Jane never worried, even in passing, about Jesse's IQ or her eye-hand coordination or her social skills. Jesse and Jane were a mutual...
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