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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Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Elizette rated it it was ok Oct 24, Just a moment while we sign you in cemmetery your Goodreads account.

Amy Hempel’s In The cemetery Where Cemmetery Jolsen is Buried is a moving story of a woman living through the death of her best friend from a terminal illness. The implication is that the fearful narrator took too long coming to the side of her dying friend and, once there, will not stay until the end. Though the narrator seems aware of her fear of death, her fear prevents her from discussing the topic openly.

I told her the shape of the moon is like a banana—you see it looking full, you’re seeing it end-on. For questions or comments, contact us.

True, too, are the details of California overabundance: Read it maybe 30 times and it’s more powerful with every reading. Judy Sobeloff is a writer and educator who has won several awards for her fiction.

The story opens with the unnamed narrator visiting her friend, who is also unnamed, in a hospital near Hollywood, California, where the friend is dying, presumably of cancer.

Yet this is a kind of minimalism that robs us of nothing, that has room for the largest themes; the best of these stories have a compression that seems to capture it all. He looked at his injured arm, slashed to the bone, and died of fright. Her narrators are collectors of small, ironic tidbits, and Hempel seems to put forth the theory that the world is just a random assemblage of these trifles—some poignant, some beautiful, some amusing, but none deriving meaning from their arrangement.


It’s free and takes five seconds. The narrator has not learned the language of grief and will not until she breaks through the barrier of postmodern detachment.

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

The two drift off to sleep, but the narrator dreams her friend has decorated her house in festive streamers. Marcus Welby, MD, a television show starring Robert Young, aired from towould be remembered by almost anyone who had been in college during the early s, as the narrator and her friend were. The setting is the California coast presumably in the Los Angeles area.

Mariam rated it it was amazing Jan 20, That Paul Anka did it too, I said. While paying a long-overdue visit to a dying friend in the hospital, the narrator muses about her shame and guilt in neglecting a friend in need. 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 a spare, elliptical prose.

They achieve their former closeness for a moment when the narrator feels sleepy from the injection given to the friend. It takes me fifty-five minutes to drive one way, and I wish the commute were longer. No trivia or quizzes yet. Books by Amy Hempel. Once out of that room, I would drive it too fast down the Coast highway through the crab-smelling air. Whether you’re a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary. A stunning meditation on mortality, storytelling, memory and trivia, Amy Hempel’s “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” shocks and delights at the same time.

In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried |

Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Hempel was a former student of Gordon Lish, who eventually helped her publish her first collection of short stories. A subtle universality of feeling infuses the more fully realized stories, transcending the cliche— or forcing it to underscore and serve a greater truth.

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.

In The Cemetery Where Al Jolsen is Buried

Aldridge evaluates the writing styles and creative work of new writers whose fiction has been produced in college and university creative writing centers. Now, however, it is not a question of “if” but only of “when.


Jen rated it really liked it Feb 17, Most readers see her fictional realm as one of sadness and bittersweet consolation, a world of natural tye, highway accidents, insanity, and death. A tale of facing a close friend’s impending death. In fact, the danger springs from forgiving: Storytelling provides options for different behaviors, and provides explanations.

She quotes from graffiti and from a newspaper trivia column, and the odd mixture is full of half-truths, exaggerations and outright lies. This is a work to which young adults can readily relate. By telling her story anonymously, the narrator is able to relate details that she might otherwise hesitate ib reveal.

“In the Cemetery where Al Jolson is Buried”

The only fear that she admits to having is a fear of flying. B rated it really liked it May 26, Maarten Desmet rated it liked it Sep 01, Now she has overcome that weakness, but only to the degree that she can joke with her cemstery a real meaningful connection between them never takes place. Ashley rated it liked it Sep 07, Rushing to fill that void, a reader must project his own meaning, or assume the presence of some meaning that eludes his grasp.

A very moving story, I have read it several times and it brings tears to my eyes each time. Feb 21, Coleen rated it it was amazing Shelves: Her use of language is economical, and from a literary perspective I highly admire how she has constructed this story. As with the useless things that she once told her friend, she makes no distinction between what is true cemdtery 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.

I found the ending particularly abrupt.

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