At Books on the Nightstand, we’re dubbing 2013 “The Year of the Short Story.” In celebration, Ann is reading one story a day, for the entire year. We’ll also be highlighting new story collections, lit magazines, and online resources for short fiction. But one of the things I’m most looking forward to is discussing stories with you, here on the blog. Each month, I will choose one story to feature, and I hope that through the comments on the blog, we can explore these stories together.
This month’s BOTNS Short Story Read-Along is “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried”, by Amy Hempel. Originally published in TriQuarterly, the story also appears in Hempel’s first collection, Reasons to Live, and in The Collected Stories by Amy Hempel.
I was talking short stories on Twitter one night when Michael Taeckens, a man whose literary taste I respect immensely, asked if I had read Amy Hempel’s “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried.” I responded that no, I hadn’t. Then the hordes descended upon me. Or at least, that’s what it felt like. I was besieged with messages telling me — no, ordering me – to drop what I was doing right now and go read it.
So that’s what I’m going to tell you: go read this right now. I have lots to say about it. Read the story first, then if you like read the links I include below. But read the story first, please. Then come back.
“In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” by Amy Hempel, presented online by Fictionaut
Did you read it? Good. Please let me know what you think about this story in the comments below.
Here are some links you might find of interest:
Evidently this story is taught in high school English, and literature classes and writing classes and somehow I just missed it. After I read it, I felt like the last person on earth who learned about the Gangam Style video must have felt.