“Amy Bloom gets more meaning into individual sentences than most authors manage in whole books.” —The New Yorker
“[Amy Bloom’s] novels roam the world, plumb the human heart and send characters into wild roulettes of kismet and calamity….There are few American novelists writing today who can spin a yarn as winningly.” —Washington Post
“Bloom is a great writer who keeps stepping into new territory, entirely unafraid. She is one of America’s unique and most gifted literary voices.” —Colum McCann
In the words of Michael Cunningham, “Amy Bloom is a national treasure.” She is the author of three novels—Lucky Us, Away, and Love Invents Us—and three collections of short stories. Colum McCann writes that Lucky Us “is a poignant book that manages to be funny, an unflinching portrait that manages to be tender, a tough story that manages to also have jazz and grace.” And the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that “Bloom’s book beautifully explores the myriad ways in which we define and create the American family, and ultimately how we carve our path when life keeps throwing obstacles in our way.”
Bloom’s New York Times bestselling novel Away was called a “literary triumph” by the Times, while The Washington Post declared it, “desperate and impassioned, erotic and moving—absolutely hypnotic.” Her first novel, Love Invents Us, was called “an unsettling tale of desire.” Bloom’s short fiction includes Where the God Of Love Hangs Out, also a New York Times bestseller; Come to Me, a National Book Award finalist; and A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Her first nonfiction book was Normal: Transsexual CEOs, Crossdressing Cops and Hermaphrodites with Attitudes, now a staple of university sociology and biology courses. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages.
A practicing psychotherapist for twenty years (after being a waitress, a bartender, an actor, and a peanut-picker), Bloom has an acute understanding of human nature and an ear especially attuned to the inner and outer voices of her characters. “I spent my professional life exploring the gap between what people said and how they said it, the chasm between what they felt and what they said they felt,” she has said.
Amy Bloom is a National Magazine Award winner. She has demonstrated her versatility and wit in the essays she has written for magazines such as The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, The Atlantic Monthly, Slate, and Salon, on subjects as diverse as cooking lasagna, marrying at 50, and a history of portrait-painting. She is the University Writer-in-Residence at Wesleyan University.
Amy Bloom is the author of three novels—Lucky Us, Away, and Love Invents Us—and three collections of short stories, including Where the God Of Love Hangs Out, Come to Me, and A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You. Her first book of nonfiction, Normal: Transsexual CEOs, Crossdressing Cops and Hermaphrodites with Attitudes, is a staple of university sociology and biology courses. She has written for magazines such as The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, The Atlantic Monthly, Slate, and Salon, and her work has been translated into fifteen languages. She is currently the University Writer-in-Residence at Wesleyan University.
LUCKY US (2014)
“Lucky Us is a remarkable accomplishment. One waits a long time for a novel of this scope and dimension, replete with surgically drawn characters, a mix of comedy and tragedy that borders on the miraculous, and sentences that should be in a sentence museum.” —Michael Cunningham
From Amy Bloom, the beloved and critically acclaimed author of Away, comes a remarkable novel about the creation of an unconventional family—a brilliantly written, deeply moving, fantastically funny story of love, heartbreak, and luck. Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star, and Eva, the sidekick, journey across 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris’s ambitions take them from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island. With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine through a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Filled with gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and surprising events, Lucky Us is a thrilling and resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life. From Brooklyn’s beauty parlors to London’s West End, a group of unforgettable people love, lie, cheat, and survive in this story of our fragile, absurd, heroic species.
WHERE THE GOD OF LOVE HANGS OUT (2010)
Propelled by Bloom’s dazzling prose, unmistakable voice, and generous wit, Where the God of Love Hangs Out takes us to the margins and the centers of real people’s lives, exploring the changes that love and loss create. A young woman is haunted by her roommate’s murder; a man and his daughter-in-law confess their sins in the unlikeliest of places. In one quartet of interlocking stories, two middle-aged friends, married to others, find themselves surprisingly drawn to each other, risking all while never underestimating the cost. In another linked set of stories, we follow mother and son for thirty years as their small and uncertain family becomes an irresistible tribe. Insightful, sensuous, and heartbreaking, these stories of passion and disappointment, life and death, capture deep human truths.
Panoramic in scope, Away is the epic and intimate story of young Lillian Leyb, a dangerous innocent, an accidental heroine. When her family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian comes to America alone, determined to make her way in a new land. When word comes that her daughter, Sophie, might still be alive, Lillian embarks on an odyssey that takes her from the world of the Yiddish theater on New York’s Lower East Side, to Seattle’s Jazz District, and up to Alaska, along the fabled Telegraph Trail toward Siberia. All of the qualities readers love in Amy Bloom’s work—her humor and wit, her elegant and irreverent language, her unflinching understanding of passion and the human heart–come together in the embrace of this brilliant novel, which is at once heartbreaking, romantic, and completely unforgettable.
LUCKY US (novel excerpt)
I’d Know You Anywhere
My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.
She tapped my nose with her grapefruit spoon. “It’s like this,” she said. “Your father loves us more, but he’s got another family, a wife, and a girl a little older than you. Her family had all the money. Wipe your face.”
There was no one like my mother, for straight talk. She washed my neck and ears until they shone. We helped each other dress: her lilac dress, with the underarm zipper, my pink one with the tricky buttons. My mother did my braids so tight, my eyes pulled up. She took her violet cloche and her best gloves and she ran across the road to borrow Mr. Portman’s car. I was glad to be going and I thought I could get to be glad about having a sister. I wasn’t sorry my father’s other wife was dead.
WHERE THE GOD OF LOVE HANGS OUT (story excerpt)
I had always planned to kill my father. When I was ten, I drew a picture of a grave with ALVIN LOWALD written on the tombstone, on the wall behind my dresser. From time to time, I would add a spray of weeds or a creeping vine. By the time I was in junior high, there were trees hung with kudzo, cracks in the granite, and a few dark daises springing up. Once, when my mother wouldn’t let me ride my bike into town, I wrote, Peggy Lowald is a fat stupid cow behind the dresser but I went back the same day and scribbled over it with black Magic Marker because most of the time I did love my mother and I knew she loved me. The whole family knew that my mother’s feelings were Sensitive and Easily Hurt. My father said so, all the time. My father’s feelings were also sensitive, but not in a way that I understood the word, at ten; it might have been more accurate to say that he was extremely responsive. My brother, Andy, drew cartoon weather maps of my father’s feelings: dark clouds of I Hate You, giving way to the sleet of Who Are You, pierced by bolts of Black Rage.
—From “Between Here and Here”
AWAY (chapter excerpt)
Everyone has two memories. The one you can tell and the one that is stuck to the underside of that, the dark, tarry smear of what happened.
The scar across Lillian’s chest is a dull red line.
The scar on her shoulder is a fat little oval of rough, ridged purple with a thin curdled edge of whiter skin, made by the hot underside of a steel soup spoon. She has been asked about it a few times, by an interested man, an interested woman. The interests are not the same. There is the curious caress, the soft cluck of the tongue from a man who might break your heart the way he ignores you during dinner but when he comes to the scar later he fingers around and across it to the white buttons on your camisole, like you are a sweet, quivering bird, Sh-sh-sh.