In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried Essay

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In the following review ofHempeVsfirst collection of short stories, Reasons to Live, Drzal comments that most of HempeVs stories take place in a limbo-like setting possible only in California.

The most basic aim of psychoanalysis, Freud said, is "transforming hysterical misery into common un-happiness." While this formulation may seem harsh and hopeless, the characters in [Reasons to Live]... would be more than willing to settle for it.

Most of the stories in Reasons to Live open after a crisis to find the narrator standing, shell-shocked, amidst the rubble of her life. Although the tone of Hempel's spare, first person narratives (the exception is the third person "Today Will Be a Quiet Day") varies from the almost Southern Gothic flavor of "Breathing Jesus" to the silly/surreal "Celia is Back" to the full and touching "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried," they share a veneer of...

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This section contains 669 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried Study Guide
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