Monday, November 15, 2010

Amy Bloom

I just finished Amy Bloom's new(ish) collection, Where the God of Love Hangs Out. I think she is very unlike any other writer I love--she lives in Connecticut, and when I was in college, I got a ride partway to meet a friend, with a fellow Bard student who was friends with her daughter. They lived in the same wealthy Connecticut town. Now, having done some research, I know that that must have been her first husband (she then had a serious ten-year relationship with a woman, and is now married again), and she was wealthier then than she has been since. But I still think of her as a white, upper-middle-class, Connecticut, therapist (now full-time writer and professor--formerly at Yale, now at Wesleyan), writer. Not what I usually read.

Nevertheless, I always love her stories. It's like reading Cheever--the stories are not about people I know, but the details are so real, so vivid, and there is enough overlap because her characters are thoughtful, well-drawn human beings.

Also, she is one of the few writers I read who deals with interracial relationships in a real, true way; when others write about/mention these relationships, the race is irrelevant, as we're supposed to believe it is, in our post-racial society. Or it's the whole story. But Bloom, while not foregrounding it, also very deliberately does not erase it. Four of these stories are about Julia, a white woman who had two children with her black husband, one her stepchild (his child by an earlier marriage) and one her child with Lionel. These characters were in earlier stories of hers, as well. The stories are not about her being white and her children being black, but that is part of the reality of the situation.

I will keep reading her books. Every book she writes.

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