Amy Hempel Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Amy Hempel was a contributing editor to Vanity Fair in 1985-1986 and was the editor of Unleashed: Poems by Writers’ Dogs in 1995.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Amy Hempel’s stories have appeared in leading American journals and have been widely anthologized in publications such as The Best American Short Stories and The Best of the Missouri Review, 1978-1990 (“Today Will Be a Quiet Day” appeared in both), The Pushcart Prize, The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction (1978), and New American Short Stories: The Writers Select Their Own Favorites (1987).


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Aldridge, John W. Talents and Technicians: Literary Chic and the New Assembly-Line Fiction. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1992. In a chapter that considers Carver, Ann Beattie, and Frederick Barthelme, Aldridge accuses Hempel of “chronic minimalist constipation” and claims that behind her stories, several of which he analyzes, “there seems to be nothing but a chilly emotional void generated by either an incapacity to feel or a determination to express no feeling if one is there.”

Ballantyne, Sheila. “Rancho Libido, and Other Hot Spots.” Review of Reasons to Live, by Amy Hempel. The New York Times Book Review, April 28, 1985, p. 9. Laudatory review that offers useful insights on minimalism and Hempel’s treatment of California’s culture.

Blythe, Will, ed. Why I Write: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction. Boston: Little, Brown, 1998. As one of twenty-six contributors to this collection, Hempel suggests some of the reasons that she creates her short fiction.

Hallett, Cynthia J. “Minimalism and the Short Story.” Studies in Short Fiction 33 (1996): 487-495. In an essay that uses Hempel, Raymond Carver, and Ernest Hemingway as primary examples, Hallett attempts to lay down a theoretical foundation for minimalist fiction.

Hemple, Amy. Interview by Suzan Sherman. BOMB, Spring, 1997, 67-70. In this wide-ranging interview, Hempel talks about her background as a writer, the origins of many of her stories, and her theories about reading and writing short fiction.

Towers, Robert. “Don’t Expect Too Much of Men.” Review of At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, by Amy Hempel. The New York Times, March 11, 1990, sec. 7, p. 11. Contains helpful remarks on Hempel as a miniaturist.