Amy Hempel’s magical prose

“Sing to It: New Stories” by Amy Hempel is the 19th book I’ve finished this year. Just discovered what an amazing writer she is. Some of the short stories are just a page long, but it’s astonishing what she can do with just a few words.

This quote is from the longest story in this collection, “Cloudland”.

“I remember being surprised to learn that asking for help is a sign of strength. Someone who knew what she was talking about set out to convince me of this when I told her I had failed to gauge the point at which I had to stop asking for help, had to figure something out for myself. Why was it hard to see this as strength? I’d seen people all my life who felt it was a matter of character to puzzle through a problem by themselves. Self-sufficiency as a point of honor—I was persuaded by this. But help could come in so many forms.”

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