In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried Summary. Amy Hempel The story ends with the friend being buried in Los Angeles, in a well-known cemetery. “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried” is a short fiction story by author Amy Hempel. It was first published in TriQuarterly magazine in , reprinted in. Tell me things I won’t mind forgetting,” she said. “Make it useless stuff or skip it.” I began. I told her insects fly through rain, mi For the short story reader. Updated.
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“In the Cemetery where Al Jolson is Buried”
She rattles off more trivia for her friend and they watch a movie together lying side by side while eating ice cream. At its worst, minimalism is a kind of fraudulent tic that serves to hide a vacuum or defend against feeling. She is a minimalist writer who is often compared to Raymond Carver. However, her fear of death permeates her actions and thoughts while with her friend. Nevertheless, like the earthquake the two roommates amu to forestall but were unable to prevent, the woman is.
In this story, dreams and reality are weaved together just as true facts and made-up facts blend. But how does this attitude affect human relationships? There are no truths, there is no meaning to life, there is only death at the end, so what could possibly matter? The friends confront imminent death and loss in the tone that has characterized their relationship since college cdmetery, which seem not to be very far behind them.
Little facts about the unit and the friend’s illness and her slow death are revealed in glimpses, between breaks for “useless” facts and the narrators recollection of her friend’s steady presence in her life. But the narrator does not deepen her understanding.
In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried
Marcus Welby, MD, a television show starring Robert Young, aired from towould be remembered by almost anyone who had been in college during the early cemetry, as the narrator and her friend were. Knopf Canada,pp. She has said that it is the very first short story she wrote.
The other stories, too. A man in a car accident was scared to death by the sight of his injured arm. The story opens with the unnamed narrator visiting her friend, who is also unnamed, in a hospital near Hollywood, California, where the friend is dying, presumably of cancer.
The friend throws a fit upon realizing the narrator is leaving, yanking off her protective mask and running out of the room. Still, small slips betray a vestigial identity, a wish not to blend, but to stand out: Holson nature—and by extension, God—is false, then there really is nothing to believe in.
They take place in earthquake and landslide country, where stability is revealed to be a necessary delusion. Primary Source Reasons to Live. Hempel continually strives for, and sometimes manages to find, the poetry and raw humor in meaninglessness.
Now she has overcome that weakness, but only to the degree that she can joke with her friend; a real meaningful connection between them never takes hempek. They talk about inconsequential things, bantering, but then her friend says that there “is a real and present need here. Do insects get wet? The process of writing this story and dedicating it cemeteyr her deceased friend can be said to be a catharsis for the author.
Aldridge evaluates the writing styles and creative work of new writers whose fiction has been produced in college and university creative writing centers. Why not keep it light? The danger manifests itself as a detachment from the world of human connection. For me, it’s an emotional change that comes with the narrator leaving more guilty than she came and running away, still afraid, after looking.
A debate over the merits of minimalism eventually ensued, which, using the words of Saltzman, can be framed thus: Her stories have been translated into twelve languages and anthologized in the United States and several other countries.
I was supposed to offer something.
In discussing her sparse, minimalist style, critics often pointed to details in the story like the metaphor of a Hollywood set as the forum for a discussion on death. Igoni Barrett, Belle Boggs, A. Yet it is very much a realist story.
Al Jolson is buried in the cemetery where the dying girl will be buried; his blackface mask may symbolize the “show” that everyone, including the doctors, is putting on. Newer Post Older Post Home. When I haven’t read this story for a while, this is where I think it ends. A difference in this collection, though, is the occasional presence of an authorial intrusion, an attribute generally not associated with minimalism.