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A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You

A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You [Kindle Edition]

Amy Bloom
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Amazon Review

It was Henry James who first claimed the imagination of disaster, but in Amy Bloom's stunning second collection, she appears to have inherited the mantle. Most of the characters in A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You are pursued by at least one of the biological furies: cancer, miscarriage, Parkinson's disease. Even those with their health intact tend to be sick at heart, having run the gauntlet of family life and suffered what the military men like to call friendly fire. Yet the effect of these brilliant stories is anything but dreary. Instead they produce an odd sense of elation--Bloom somehow persuades us that her characters will continue under their own steam long after we've closed the book, and she alternates hope and hopelessness in exactly the right, recognisable proportions.

Take the title story, in which a middle-aged mother is determined to see her daughter through the rigors of a sex-change operation. Jane puts up a good front, almost but not quite earning the title of Transsexual Mom of the Year, and supports her "handsome boy-girl" every step of the way. Yet the strain shows. And when she meets a supernaturally nice man, she can't quite credit her good fortune--even his appearance at her door with an armload of flowers touches off a fresh round of ambivalence:

And standing on the little porch of the condo, barely enough room for two medium-size people and forty-eight roses, Jane sees that she has taken her place in the long and honorable line of fools for love: Don Quixote and Hermia and Oscar Wilde and Joe E. Brown, crowing with delight, clutching his straw boater and Jack Lemmon as the speedboat carries them off into a cockeyed and irresistible future.
"Stars at Elbow and Foot" and "Rowing to Eden" are no less effective in their mingling of tragedy and sublime trivia. In two other stories, Bloom revives the Sampson clan, which she first introduced in "Come to Me", and beautifully extends her mini-epic of mixed-race life without a grain of namby-pamby PC hesitation. And last but not least, there's "The Story", a tricky number in which Bloom seems to shoot to hell her own reputation for Chekhovian decency. Here we have a narrator who lies and dissembles, destroys her rival and lives to tell the (metafictional) tale:
Even now I regard her destruction as a very good thing, and that undermines the necessary fictive texture of deep ambiguity, the roiling ambivalence that might give tension to the narrator's affection.
In the end, though, Bloom is simply too gifted a writer to banish all seven types of ambiguity from her work. She understands that we are hopelessly divided creatures and cuts us the necessary, unsentimental slack; or to put it another way, she forgives all--but forgets nothing. --James Marcus


'Connectedness, or the lack of it, is the theme of nearly all the stories... They are small masterpieces' Sunday Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 276 KB
  • Print Length: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New Ed edition (28 Mar 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #125,681 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By A Customer
For her third book, Amy Bloom has continued her tradition of delivering devastating emotional truths wrapped up in deceptively simple prose. This collection of short stories is a lot more muted than her previous two books, with the emphasis being on death rather than the redemptive power of love - these stories are full of ugly deaths, ugly dying, emotional deaths, dead babies, deformed children, death of identity, death of relationships - yet Bloom has managed to write all this with her usual deft emotional touch, her usual light-fingered brilliance. She develops further her almost supernatural ability to write sentences that feel as though they're taking you around a corner to reveal a totally unexpected vista, and she does this again and again and again with absolute precision (adding many dimensions to each story). Virtually every sentence is conceptually powerful (doing several things at once beneath the surface beauty), and despite the almost offhand tone, by the end of nearly every story the reader is left reeling. Best of all is the penultimate 'The Gates Are Closing', the story of an adulterous relationship which cannot physically continue because one of the participants has a degenerative disease - it is truly bittersweet, not as in 'a bittersweet romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan...', but in a very profound way. Overall, this book is a startling collection of unusual emotional nuances, less immediately dazzling than her previous works, but brilliant nonetheless.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful collection 9 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book of short stories is a wonderful exploration of the many states of love. hetrosexual love,lesbian love familial love ,incestuous love and parental love . It is not a bundle of laughs some of it is very hard on the spirit but at the end I wanted to read it all over again. It is wonderfully well written . There is a subtlelty and deftness of touch, this is as close to literature as I get. I can recommend this book to people without the slightest hint of self ego . I can do it without it appearing as if i am trying to impress with my being well read. This is a book for all who enjoy a good read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhere over the rainbow 31 Aug 2007
The book reminds me of Wizard of Oz in a more grown up way, obviously. If you read it carefully, you will find yourself in one of the stories. It might make you laugh and disgusted at the same time but I definitely had a tear on my face throughout the whole journey...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 20 Sep 2014
By Maddie - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyable short stori
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