“Each purified sentence [in Sing to It] is itself a story, a kind of suspended enigma. . . . Hempel, like some practical genius of the forest, can make living structures out of what look like mere bric-a-brac, leavings, residue. It’s astonishing how little she needs to get something up and going on the page. A pun, a malapropism, or a ghost rhyme is spark enough.”
–James Wood, The New Yorker
“Turning the pages [in Sing to It] is like swimming in a lake and suddenly finding the bottom drop out beneath you, leaving you to get your bearings amid unanticipated depths.”
–Ruth Franklin, The Atlantic
“It's astonishing that Hempel can pack so much emotion into so few words. . . . There's not a story in Sing to It that's less than brilliant, and the collection itself is even greater than the sum of its parts. Hempel occasionally draws comparisons to authors like Mary Robison and Joy Williams, but she writes like nobody else — she's an irreplaceable literary treasure who has mastered the art of the short story more skillfully than just about any other writer out there. Sing to It is a quiet masterpiece by a true American original.”
“[Amy Hempel is] an essential voice in contemporary American short fiction… [Sing to It] offers Hempel at her best: oscillating between hilarity and pain in a way that feels utterly human.”
“Scintillating as the blade of a knife. . . . The verisimilar quality of this storytelling is powerful. Ms. Hempel’s stories compel us to re-reading in much the same way we review (or re-read) interactions in everyday life, attempting to piece together what really happened, what was actually being said. . . . When there is a shock, a crisis, a scene of horror, Ms. Hempel sings to it, and the result is an exquisite collection by a master of the genre.”
–The Wall Street Journal
"Gorgeously distilled, archly witty, and daringly empathetic tales...Hempel is a master miniaturist, capturing in exquisitely nuanced sentences the sensuous, cerebral, and spiritual cascade of existence, homing in on pain and humor and the wisdom each can engender."
"Short story virtuoso Hempel's first collection since 2006 consists of 15 characteristically bold, disconcerting, knockout stories that highlight her signature style with its condensed prose, quirky narrators, and touching, disturbing, transcendent moments."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A dizzying array of short fiction...Hempel packs a lot into her narrow spaces: nuance, longing, love, and loss. The brilliance of the writing resides in the way Hempel manages to tell us everything in spite of her narrator's reticence, teaching us to read between the lines."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[Hempel’s] stories . . . burrow inside you, dogging your thoughts for days. . . . Hempel has both a better feel for the vicissitudes of the world and a better imagination than you do.”
–Cory Oldweiler, amNY
“Attention short story fans: Amy Hempel is back with her first collection of short stories in over a decade. Some are just a page long and others are like small novellas, but they’re all astonishingly rhythmic and textured.”
“Hempel packs a great deal into the briefest of fictions, creating balanced and nuanced stories
of longing, love and loss.”