Catalogue

COVID-19: Updates on library services and operations.

The dog of the marriage : stories /
Amy Hempel.
imprint
New York : Scribner, c2005.
description
141 p.
ISBN
0743264517
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
New York : Scribner, c2005.
isbn
0743264517
contents note
Beach town -- Jesus is waiting -- The uninvited -- Reference #388475848-5 -- What were the white things? -- The dog of the marriage -- The afterlife -- Memoir -- Offertory.
catalogue key
5352904
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Excerpt from Book
Beach Town The house next door was rented for the summer to a couple who swore at missed croquet shots. Their music at night was loud, and I liked it; it was not music I knew. Mornings, I picked up the empties they had lobbed across the hedge, Coronas with the limes wedged inside, and pitched them back over. We had not introduced ourselves these three months.Between our houses a tall privet hedge is backed by white pine for privacy in winter. The day I heard the voice of a woman not the wife, I went out back to a spot more heavily planted but with a break I could just see through. Now it was the man who was talking, or trying to--he started to say things he could not seem to finish. I watched the woman do something memorable to him with her mouth. Then the man pulled her up from where she had been kneeling. He said, "Maybe you're just hungry. Maybe we should get you something to eat."The woman had a nimble laugh.The man said, "Paris is where you and I should go."The woman asked what was wrong with here. She said, "I like a beach town."I wanted to phone the wife's office in the city and hear what she would sound like if she answered. I had no fellow feeling; all she had ever said to me was couldn't I mow my lawn later in the day. It was noon when she asked. I told her the village bylaws disallow mowing before seven-thirty, and that I had waited until nine. A gardener, hired by my neighbor, cared for their yard. But still I was sure they were neglecting my neighbor's orchids. All summer long I had watched for the renters to leave the house together so that I could let myself in with the key from the shelf in the shed and test the soil and water the orchids.The woman who did not want to go to Paris said that she had to leave. "But I don't want you to leave," the man said, and she said, "Think of the kiss at the door."Nobody thinks about the way sound carries across water. Even the water in a swimming pool. A week later, when her husband was away, the wife had friends to lunch by the pool. I didn't have to hide to listen; I was in view if they had cared to look, pulling weeds in the raspberry canes.The women told the wife it was an opportunity for her. They said, "Fair is fair," and to do those things she might not otherwise have done. "No regrets," they said, "if you are even the type of person who is given to regret, if you even have that type of wistful temperament to begin with."The women said, "We are not unintelligent; we just let passion prevail." They said, "Who would deny that we have all had these feelings?"The women told the wife she would not feel this way forever. "You will feel worse, however, before you feel better, and that is just the way it always is."The women advised long walks. They told the wife to watch the sun rise and set, to look for solace in the natural world, though they admitted there was no comfort to be found in the world and they would all be fools to expect it.The weekend the couple next door had moved in--their rental began on Memorial Day--I heard them place a bet on the moon. She said waxing, he said waning. Days later, the moon nearly full in the night sky, I listened for the woman to tell her husband she had won, knowing they had not named the terms of the bet, and that the woman next door would collect nothing. Copyright copy; 2005 by Amy Hempel
First Chapter
Beach Town

The house next door was rented for the summer to a couple who swore at missed croquet shots. Their music at night was loud, and I liked it; it was not music I knew. Mornings, I picked up the empties they had lobbed across the hedge, Coronas with the limes wedged inside, and pitched them back over. We had not introduced ourselves these three months.

Between our houses a tall privet hedge is backed by white pine for privacy in winter. The day I heard the voice of a woman not the wife, I went out back to a spot more heavily planted but with a break I could just see through. Now it was the man who was talking, or trying to--he started to say things he could not seem to finish. I watched the woman do something memorable to him with her mouth. Then the man pulled her up from where she had been kneeling. He said, "Maybe you're just hungry. Maybe we should get you something to eat."

The woman had a nimble laugh.

The man said, "Paris is where you and I should go."

The woman asked what was wrong with here. She said, "I like a beach town."

I wanted to phone the wife's office in the city and hear what she would sound like if she answered. I had no fellow feeling; all she had ever said to me was couldn't I mow my lawn later in the day. It was noon when she asked. I told her the village bylaws disallow mowing before seven-thirty, and that I had waited until nine. A gardener, hired by my neighbor, cared for their yard. But still I was sure they were neglecting my neighbor's orchids. All summer long I had watched for the renters to leave the house together so that I could let myself in with the key from the shelf in the shed and test the soil and water the orchids.

The woman who did not want to go to Paris said that she had to leave. "But I don't want you to leave," the man said, and she said, "Think of the kiss at the door."

Nobody thinks about the way sound carries across water. Even the water in a swimming pool. A week later, when her husband was away, the wife had friends to lunch by the pool. I didn't have to hide to listen; I was in view if they had cared to look, pulling weeds in the raspberry canes.

The women told the wife it was an opportunity for her. They said, "Fair is fair," and to do those things she might not otherwise have done. "No regrets," they said, "if you are even the type of person who is given to regret, if you even have that type of wistful temperament to begin with."

The women said, "We are not unintelligent; we just let passion prevail." They said, "Who would deny that we have all had these feelings?"

The women told the wife she would not feel this way forever. "You will feel worse, however, before you feel better, and that is just the way it always is."

The women advised long walks. They told the wife to watch the sun rise and set, to look for solace in the natural world, though they admitted there was no comfort to be found in the world and they would all be fools to expect it.

The weekend the couple next door had moved in--their rental began on Memorial Day--I heard them place a bet on the moon. She said waxing, he said waning. Days later, the moon nearly full in the night sky, I listened for the woman to tell her husband she had won, knowing they had not named the terms of the bet, and that the woman next door would collect nothing.

Copyright © 2005 by Amy Hempel

Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2005-02-14:
"[W]as there anybody who wasn't here to get over something too?" wonders the narrator in the sublime "Offertory." Not in this book, Hempel's fourth collection (after 1997's Tumble Home), as unnamed narrators struggle with breakups, disillusionment, loss. Two marriages come to grief in the title story: the narrator's husband falls in love with someone else, while her gift of a dog has tragic consequences for another couple. In "Jesus Is Waiting," a woman mourning the loss of her lover's affection drives obsessively, becoming a connoisseur of truck stops and budget motels, "moved to tears when the lane I am in merges with another." The 50-year-old narrator of "The Uninvited" muses on the eponymous movie as she delays taking a pregnancy test; the potential father is either her estranged husband or her rapist. Dogs appear often, as creatures more giving and wise than the men and women who own them. All the remarkable, original obliqueness of Hempel's previous work is here, but with slightly less of its heart, and an earlier lightheartedness has been exchanged for a kind of gorgeous severity, as if each story began at four times its length and was stripped away until only what was essential remained. Though it's not the most accessible of collections, it's deeply affecting, as Hempel paints a fictional world that is sharp and lonely but also marked by beauty and unexpected generosity. Agent, Liz Darhansoff. (Mar. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2005-02-01:
You can read the notes to these stories, all appearing on one page, as if they were a story. Hempel's (Reasons To Live) seven spare and enigmatic sentences identify quotations and allusions. Together, the references to Patricia Highsmith, a thanatologist, an obscure filmmaker, and Swinburne suggest something strange, if not menacing. In fact, the stories resemble the notes. "Memoirs" has only one sentence. The first-person female narrators are distraught. The title story, the longest and most coherent, involves a woman whose husband left her and another woman whose husband was killed by a car when he chased their dog, which had been trained by the first woman. In the last story, a woman maintains her lover's interest by describing her earlier sexual experiences in a threesome. "The Uninvited" creates a parallel between the mystery film of the same title and the narrator's possible pregnancy. Suitable for contemporary fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/04.]-Elaine Bender, El Camino Coll., Torrance, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Amy Hempel is one of our masters of offhandedly rendered dire emotional states. Her fiction is breath-catchingly tender and funny. WithThe Dog of the Marriageshe turns her stunningly dispassionate and compassionate eye to erotic love and longing, to characters who let passion prevail. The stories that result are both spectacularly intimate and beautifully built, and bring us back to the question that powers all her work:Can we take each other in?"-- Jim Shepard, author ofProject XandLove and Hydrogen
"Amy Hempel is one of our masters of offhandedly rendered dire emotional states. Her fiction is breath-catchingly tender and funny. With The Dog of the Marriage she turns her stunningly dispassionate and compassionate eye to erotic love and longing, to characters who let passion prevail. The stories that result are both spectacularly intimate and beautifully built, and bring us back to the question that powers all her work: Can we take each other in?" -- Jim Shepard, author of Project X and Love and Hydrogen
"Hempel writes with an effortless wit...showing us the larger shapes of our lives by capturing their most fleeting and fragmentary moments."-- Elizabeth Gleick,The New York Times Book Review
"Hempel writes with an effortless wit...showing us the larger shapes of our lives by capturing their most fleeting and fragmentary moments." -- Elizabeth Gleick, The New York Times Book Review
"In airports and on trains, the toughest part of readingThe Dog of the Marriageis how much your jaw muscles ache from the effort it takes to not laugh and cry in front of strangers. Amy Hempel is my god among writers."-- Chuck Palahniuk, author ofFight ClubandHaunted
"In airports and on trains, the toughest part of reading The Dog of the Marriage is how much your jaw muscles ache from the effort it takes to not laugh and cry in front of strangers. Amy Hempel is my god among writers." -- Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club and Haunted
"Tumble Homeis the kind of book you can open anywhere and the prose wins your absolute trust. There's not a soggy patch or word. It's wonderful. I love it."-- Alice Munro, author ofRunaway
"Tumble Home is the kind of book you can open anywhere and the prose wins your absolute trust. There's not a soggy patch or word. It's wonderful. I love it." -- Alice Munro, author of Runaway
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Booklist, January 2005
Library Journal, February 2005
Publishers Weekly, February 2005
Los Angeles Times, March 2005
Washington Post, March 2005
Chicago Tribune, April 2005
New York Times Book Review, April 2005
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
Amy Hempel's compassion, intensity, and illuminating observations have made her one of the most distinctive and admired modern writers. In three stunning books of stories, she has established a voice as unique and recognizable as the photographs of Cindy Sherman or the brushstrokes of Robert Motherwell.The Dog of the Marriage,Hempel's fourth collection, is about sexual obsession, relationships gone awry, and the unsatisfied longings of everyday life.In "Offertory," a modern-day Scheherazade entertains and manipulates her lover with stories of her sexual encounters with a married couple as a very young woman. In "Reference # 388475848-5," a letter contesting a parking ticket becomes a beautiful and unnerving statement of faith. In "Jesus Is Waiting," a woman driving to New York sends a series of cryptically honest postcards to an old lover. And the title story is a heartbreaking tale about the objects and animals and unmired desires that are left behind after death or divorce.These nine stories teem with wisdom, emotion, and surprising wit. Hempel explores the intricate psychology of people falling in and out of love, trying to locate something or someone elusive or lost. Her sentences are as lean, original, and startling as any in contemporary fiction.
Main Description
Amy Hempel's compassion, intensity, and illuminating observations have made her one of the most distinctive and admired modern writers. In three stunning books of stories, she has established a voice as unique and recognizable as the photographs of Cindy Sherman or the brushstrokes of Robert Motherwell. The Dog of the Marriage, Hempel's fourth collection, is about sexual obsession, relationships gone awry, and the unsatisfied longings of everyday life. In "Offertory," a modern-day Scheherazade entertains and manipulates her lover with stories of her sexual encounters with a married couple as a very young woman. In "Reference # 388475848-5," a letter contesting a parking ticket becomes a beautiful and unnerving statement of faith. In "Jesus Is Waiting," a woman driving to New York sends a series of cryptically honest postcards to an old lover. And the title story is a heartbreaking tale about the objects and animals and unmired desires that are left behind after death or divorce. These nine stories teem with wisdom, emotion, and surprising wit. Hempel explores the intricate psychology of people falling in and out of love, trying to locate something or someone elusive or lost. Her sentences are as lean, original, and startling as any in contemporary fiction.
Unpaid Annotation
From one of the most highly acclaimed short story writers of the last two decades comes a glittering collection about relationships gone awry, sexual obsession, and the unsatisfied longings of everyday life.
Table of Contents
Beach Town
Jesus Is Waiting
The Uninvited
Reference #388475848-5
What Were the White Things?
The Dog of the Marriage
The Afterlife
Memoir
Offertory
Notes
Acknowledgments
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem