Lately—and I mean only in 2010—I’ve been really into short stories. Earlier this year I read (most of) American Savage by Bonnie Jo Campbell (which was fantastic), and now I’ve just finished Amy Bloom’s new book, Where the God of Love Hangs Out.

Where the God of Love Hangs Out

I haven’t actually read Amy Bloom before, and wasn’t sure if she was an Oprah writer or not. But she got two fab reviews in the New York Times (here and here), so I ordered the book from the library.

I was not disappointed. Amy Bloom has now officially been added to my list of readable authors (happily, an ever-expanding list).

The book is made up of 12 stories, with two sets of interconnected plots of four stories each, and four stories that stand alone. Bloom has actually published most of the stories in this collected at different times in her career, and only three of them are new. That said, if you’ve never read her (like I hadn’t) they’re all new to you! She also finishes up the plots of some characters she’s written about in the past, so if you’re a long time reader, you might appreciate some closure. I enjoyed every story that I read, and in the case of the first set of interconnected stories, I really didn’t want to let those characters go.

Overall rating: Really, really wonderful.

But, as usual, there are always a few things to learn from our heroic characters!

Here are 5 things I learned from Where the God of Love Hangs Out (and yes, there are a few spoilers):

  1. If you’re going to fall in love and have an affair with your best friend, and you’re both of middle age, and he’s already suffered a heart attack, leave your husband and marry him before he dies.
  2. Don’t sleep with your stepson. (I think I already knew that.)
  3. Try not to become roommates with someone who is later going to be murdered by a serial killer: it really screws you up.
  4. Don’t introduce your lover to your prudish uncle until after you have left your husband. You never know whether his morals will push him to spill the beans.
  5. This one’s for the publishers: If you ever write the book jacket summary of a book of short stories, try to only talk about the first few stories and not exclusively about the last ones in the collection. (And definitely avoid giving away the whole plot of any single story.) I would really appreciate it if you let me read the book without wondering if every story that I read is going to be the one about someone’s roommate’s murder. (It’s “By-and-By,” by the way.)
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