Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Where the God of Love Hangs Out by Amy Bloom

I read this book probably around January or February. I loved it then and I can still vividly recall some of the characters.

Back then I wrote in my journal:
There is something magical about finding a new author you love. I'm not sure why I picked up Amy Bloom's latest short story collection. The colorful cover maybe. A recent pattern of reading short story collections possibly. I read the collection on a bus ride from NYC to DC, savoring the language, loving the character development, knowing I'd be requesting all of her works from the library. There are two sections of connected short stories--the first about middle aged professors who begin having an affair and the second about a white woman, a mother and stepmother to biracial children. In the latter, after her husband's death the woman's stepson seems to fall in love with her (she has been a part of his life since he was twelve). A surprising event occurs which will make some readers uncomfortable. And while it struck me as overly Oedipal and unbelievable, I came to see it as essential to the plot.

After initially writing the above paragrah, I learned that some of the Julia (the mother/step mother) and Lionel (the step son) stories were republished from Even a Blind Man Can See I Love You ( an earlier Bloom short story collection). I found it intriguing that Bloom revisited these characters, creating a full arc of family holidays, showing us the character's individual development, the development of the family and the way many things remained the same. I love that these characters were actually revisited over a passage of years.

I love Bloom's writing style and can't say enough how much I loved each of her stories. She captures the zeitgeist in her writing. She creates rich and believable characters. She uses language in such novel and evocative ways. Even almost seven months later I can recall specific details and passages. I can remember how happily I savored the language at the beginning of the first story in the collection. Back in January when I finished it I actually read the ending of one of the stories a loud to a group of friends gathered for a dinner party because I adored the language so much.

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