In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is BuriedAmy Hempel Author BiographyPlot Born December 14, , in Chicago, Illinois, Amy Hempel moved to San. Tell me things I won’t mind forgetting,” she said. “Make it useless stuff or skip it.” I began. I told her insects fly through rain, mi For the short story reader. Updated. Amy Hempel’s In The cemetery Where Al Jolsen is Buried is a moving story of a woman living through the death of her best friend from a terminal illness.

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In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried

The stories are less successful when we have to piece together the events from driblets and hints. The narrator must rescue herself by not staying to watch–or actively help–her friend die.

Notice how nervous the narrator gets when she realizes that there is a camera focused on her and her friend. In most of the stories that make up this first collection [Reasons to Live], Amy Hempel has succeeded in revealing both the substance and intelligence beneath the surface of cfmetery spare, elliptical prose.

Start a new list. As with the useless things cemetefy she once told her friend, she makes no distinction between what is true and what is false, because in a postmodern philosophy one might say that postmodernism is actually a lack of any philosophy there is no difference and it does not matter.

If you had to read ONE contemporary story, make it this one.

cemftery The setting is the California coast presumably in the Los Angeles area. I can barely get through it anymore. While things that just lie there, like this beach, are loaded with jeopardy. Even though the tale does not pertain directly to her dying friend, it symbolizes how obsessed with death the narrator is.


That when they asked her who did it on the desk, she signed back the name of the janitor. New story recommendations from this week. Eskimos do not need refrigerators to keep their food from freezing; it is childish to believe that all Eskimos live in igloos in a permanently frozen wasteland.

In the Cemetery where Al Jolson is Buried by Amy Hempel | Short Story Recommendation

You can sit here braiding the fringe on your towel and the sand will all of a sudden suck down like an hourglass. For the short story reader. The other stories, too. Jun 23, Elysa rated it it was amazing Shelves: She thinks of a story told to her by a friend who used to work in a mortuary.

She will not stay the night. True, too, are the details of California overabundance: She tells a story of a story that was told to her—a tale now twice removed from reality—about a man who was frightened to death by the grossness of an injury he received in a car wreck.

Most readers see her fictional realm as one of sadness and bittersweet consolation, a world of natural catastrophe, highway accidents, insanity, and death. Originally published in TriQuarterly.

Some of the one-page pieces in Reasons to Live are so truncated and incomplete they rhe interesting only as snapshots. Every now and then the first person narrator makes a comment that sounds more like a reflection from an author looking in on the story than the thoughts of a character looking out.

Sep 28, MollyK rated it really liked it Shelves: Alternately, the narrator uses humor as a form of denial, like when she reads an item from the newspaper about a man who robs a bank with a chicken. A subtle tale of grief, yet I will remember it more for the quirky trivia it abounds with. Refresh and try again.


“In the Cemetery where Al Jolson is Buried”

The narrator knows it is meant for her, so that she can keep vigil. Black humor is comedy of a situational or conversational nature that concentrates on morose. The narrator wants only to get away from this dying person and drive fast and go somewhere where there is palpable life. Deals with themes of friendship, love, and grief.

Cemeteery one that really got to me was not the grisliestbut it’s the one that did.

cmeetery Dec 10, Justine rated it really liked it. The narrator and her friend assume the role of actors, yet their situation is real.

Sometimes a vignette is just a vignette, a sketch a sketch. And who is there that can say that I did not? The narrator remembers how she and her friend played a word-game to ward off earthquakes.

One cemeteyr is as good as another. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. A parable is a story that teaches a lesson. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Open Preview See a Problem? Rushing to fill that void, a reader must project his own meaning, or assume the presence cemettery some meaning that eludes his grasp. Hempel is the author of two collections of short stories: They’d serve papaya and shrimp and watermelon ice.