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At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom: Stories

At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom: Stories

4.0 1
by Amy Hempel

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Amy Hempel's collection of 16 stories seems to ask: "What if people could be just a little more like dogs - -forever loyal, ardent and loving in our hearts?"


Amy Hempel's collection of 16 stories seems to ask: "What if people could be just a little more like dogs - -forever loyal, ardent and loving in our hearts?"

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Here the very talented Hempel works in a hard-bitten, often mannered mode with material made familiar in her first book, Reasons to Live . The stories in her new collection follow people through crises and emergencies, from traffic accidents to mastectomies, as they take risks, waiting ``for the moment that would snap me out of my seeming life'' yet frequently ``cut off from meaning and completion'' in the end. A housewife in ``Under No Moon'' is mysteriously bent on seeing a comet, but in a minor comedy of errors fails to do so. The earnest and foolish young mother in ``The Center'' attempts to sponsor a destitute child, all the while behaving with the self-serving zeal of a super-yuppie consumer. In ``The Harvest,'' one of the strongest stories, a narrator reconstructs, then deconstructs, the events leading up to and following a motorcycle injury that leaves a lasting psychological wound. Mordant and unsentimental, Hempel works with a sharp wit that sometimes shaves away too ruthlessly at characters, limiting the depth of her sympathy--and ours. (Mar.)
Library Journal
A book of short stories always brings with it the possibility of intriguing titles, and there are several grabbers in this collec tion. In ``The Most Girl Part of You,'' one watches Big Guy, a kind of charming lug who has an obsession with ice water, as he plays the mating game with the narra tor. ``And Lead Us Not into Penn Sta tion'' is a testament to the insensitivity, lack of compassion, and passive accep tance of others' suffering that seems to permeate much of modern urban life. ``The Rest of God'' leaves the reader caught in the undertow of emotion at a beach picnic as a husband and wife are swept together briefly by a cosmic surge. Other titles include ``The Day I Had Ev erything,'' ``Tom-Rock Through the Eels,'' and ``In the Animal Shelter.'' Hem pel handles her themes of disorientation, dissolution, and deliverance well. She writes in a conversational style that dis plays both wit and a wry intelligence. This collection would fit nicely with other works of contemporary fiction.--Francis Poole, Kentucky Wesleyan Coll., Owensboro

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.27(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.40(d)

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At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book of rare beauty. Anyone who reads it should flip straight to the story titled 'Murder' for their first read. It is fantastic!