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By Amy Hempel

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Hempel's now-classic number of brief fiction is peopled through complicated characters who've came across that their security nets are usually not liable and who needs to now discover ways to stability at the threads of wit, irony, and spirit.

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Up. in the my I Canyon, hands in was sup- Friend. I could not In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried I had a convertible in the parking 49 Once out lot. of that room, I would drive it too fast down the Coast highway through the crab-smelling air. A stop in Malibu for sangria. The music in the place would be sexy and loud. They'd serve papaya and shrimp and watermelon After dinner vibrate with I would shimmer with life, and stay up all on the floor. the door. She She kicked ice. buzz with heat, night.

Mrs. Kaiser has worn her husband's watch for years. When in. Chuck she was good and gone, the animals wandered carried a half-eaten He dropped it on the kitchen cruelty of a world that lives chipmunk floor, by said that I finally mouth. a reminder of the food. After F. Lee's death, someone asked I in his had enough hangers me how I was. in the closet. I — REASONS TO LIVE 30 don't think that that what is meant I to say. Or maybe it is. Nashville died of her broken heart. She refused her food and simply called An it quits.

In the my I Canyon, hands in was sup- Friend. I could not In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried I had a convertible in the parking 49 Once out lot. of that room, I would drive it too fast down the Coast highway through the crab-smelling air. A stop in Malibu for sangria. The music in the place would be sexy and loud. They'd serve papaya and shrimp and watermelon After dinner vibrate with I would shimmer with life, and stay up all on the floor. the door. She She kicked ice. buzz with heat, night.

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