Cover image for A blind man can see how much I love you : stories
Title:
A blind man can see how much I love you : stories
Author:
Bloom, Amy, 1953-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, 2000.
Physical Description:
163 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
A blind man can see how much I love you -- Rowing to Eden -- Night vision -- Light into dark -- Stars at elbow and foot -- Hold tight -- The gates are closing -- The story.
ISBN:
9780375502682
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

A collection of stories focuses on a cast of characters who search for love and satisfaction in a difficult and painful world.


Author Notes

A practicing psychoanalyst, Amy Bloom lives in Connecticut.

(Publisher Provided)

Amy Bloom ws born in 1953. She is a trained social worker and psychotherapist. She is the Kim-Frank Family University Writer in Residence at Wesleyan University. She has also taught Advanced Fiction Writing, Writing for Television, and Writing for Children at Yale University. She has been nominated for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Bloom has also written articles in periodicals including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, Slate, and Salon.com. Her short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories.

In August 2012, Bloom published her first children's book entitled Little Sweet Potato. In 2014 her title Lucky Us made The New York Times Best Seller List. Her titles include Come to Me Stories, Love Invents Us, The Story, Away, and Whit Houses: A Novel.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Some of the power of her fiction (Love Invents Us, etc.) comes from Bloom's mastery of the writing craft; more arises from the empathy for human frailty exhibited by this author, who also works as a psychotherapist. Here, eight stories shed insight on the healing properties of love, experienced through unexpected epiphanies, ardent sacrifices and impulsive acts of forgiveness. Two tales concern a black man, Lionel, who one shameful night long ago slept with his white stepmother, Julia. In "Night Visions," Julia attempts to heal Lionel's guilt with kindness: "I love you past speech," she says, as maternal earth-mother rather than temptress. But in "Light into Dark," set six years and Lionel's two divorces later, he still carries "a knot in his heart,'' so Julia succors Lionel's stepson instead. The narrator in "Stars at Elbow and Foot," the collection's most outstanding story, has lost her baby at birth. Her sardonic voice charts depthless despair, until she opens her heart to a stunted, armless little boy who's even more cynical about life and emotionally guarded about commitment than she is. Another suffering character is the teenaged narrator of "Hold Tight," furious that her smart, talented, beautiful mother is dying of cancer, bitter that her own youth is vanishing at the same time. Here, too, there is a quiet healing, administered by her bereaved father. The protagonist of the title story is a single mother who shepherds her cherished daughter through the teenager's keenly desired sex-change operation, and finds her own heart healing in the process. And even when the will to endure is merely a day-by-day triumph over despair, as in "The Story," Bloom invests her tales with numinous insights. 13-city author tour. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Booklist Review

It is difficult to know where to begin to praise this masterful collection of short stories by a practicing psychotherapist. The eight stories present very quirky modern situations, but the time frame and setting do nothing to diminish the universality and depth of the emotions expressed. A mother copes with her daughter's sex-change operation in the title story. A multiracial step-family, after 15 years apart, comes together in another story. In the final story, the narrator uncovers the mechanics of her craft of writing for a purpose and how what is therapeutic for one is not necessarily therapeutic for all. Bloom's characters suffer incredible loss; painful, debilitating disease; and tribulations of all sorts; but they are not destroyed. With tender, albeit sharp, sensibilities and ringingly precise use of language, the author affirms the absolute and essential need to heal, to survive, and to love. --Danise Hoover


Library Journal Review

Bloom, a practicing psychotherapist, brings great insight into human emotion in this, her third, book (after Love Invents Us). Here, varieties of love are explored to great effect. In the title story, a mother assists as her beloved child becomes a female-to-male transsexual. Two stories explore relationships between adult men and their vividly rendered widowed stepmothers. Each of the stories in the collection contains unexpected scenes that deliver poignant moments of pure pleasure. Particularly moving is "Stars at Elbow and Foot," in which a woman tries to cope with the death of her newborn baby and forms a relationship with an armless orphan. This beautiful book will warm the hearts of its readers; recommended for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/00.]DJudith Kicinski, Sarah Lawrence Coll. Lib., Bronxville, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

Some of the power of her fiction (Love Invents Us, etc.) comes from Bloom's mastery of the writing craft; more arises from the empathy for human frailty exhibited by this author, who also works as a psychotherapist. Here, eight stories shed insight on the healing properties of love, experienced through unexpected epiphanies, ardent sacrifices and impulsive acts of forgiveness. Two tales concern a black man, Lionel, who one shameful night long ago slept with his white stepmother, Julia. In "Night Visions," Julia attempts to heal Lionel's guilt with kindness: "I love you past speech," she says, as maternal earth-mother rather than temptress. But in "Light into Dark," set six years and Lionel's two divorces later, he still carries "a knot in his heart,'' so Julia succors Lionel's stepson instead. The narrator in "Stars at Elbow and Foot," the collection's most outstanding story, has lost her baby at birth. Her sardonic voice charts depthless despair, until she opens her heart to a stunted, armless little boy who's even more cynical about life and emotionally guarded about commitment than she is. Another suffering character is the teenaged narrator of "Hold Tight," furious that her smart, talented, beautiful mother is dying of cancer, bitter that her own youth is vanishing at the same time. Here, too, there is a quiet healing, administered by her bereaved father. The protagonist of the title story is a single mother who shepherds her cherished daughter through the teenager's keenly desired sex-change operation, and finds her own heart healing in the process. And even when the will to endure is merely a day-by-day triumph over despair, as in "The Story," Bloom invests her tales with numinous insights. 13-city author tour. (Aug.) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

A BLIND MAN CAN SEE How MUCH I LOVE YOU Jane Spencer collects pictures of slim young men. In the bottom drawer of her desk, between swatches of silk and old business cards for Spencer Interiors, she has two photos of James Dean, one of a deeply wistful Jeremy Irons in Brideshead, arm in arm with the boy holding the teddy bear, a sepia print of Rudolph Valentino in 1923, without burnoose or eyeliner, B. D. Wong's glossies as Song Liling and as his own lithe, androgynous self, and Robert Mapplethorpe slipping sweetly out of his jeans in 1972. She has a pictorial history of Kevin Bacon, master of the transition from elfin boy to good-looking man without adding bulk or facial hair. The summer Jessie Spencer turned five, she played Capture the Flag every day with the big boys, the almost-six-year-olds who'd gone to kindergarten a year late. Jane never worried, even in passing, about Jesse's IQ or her eye-hand coordination or her social skills. Jesse and Jane were a mutual admiration society of two smart, strong, blue-eyed women, one five and one thirty-five, both good skaters and good singers and good storytellers. Jane didn't mention all this to the other mothers at play group, who would have said it was the same between them and their daughters when Jane could see it was not, and she didn't mention it to her own sweet, anxious mother, who would have taken it, understandably, as a reproach. Jane didn't even mention this closeness to the pediatrician, keeper of every mother's secret fears and wishes, but it sang her to sleep at night. Jane's reputation as the play group's good listener was undeserved; the mothers talked about their knock-kneed girls and backward boys and Jane smiled and her eyes followed Jesse. She watched her and thought, That smile! Those lashes! How brave! How determined! Jane sometimes worried that Jessie was too much of a tomboy, like Sarah and Mellie, even faster runners and more brutal partisans; it was nothing to them to make a smaller boy cry by yanking up his underpants, or to grind sand into the scalp of the girl who hogged the tire swing. These two didn't cry, not even when Mellie cut her lip on the edge of the teeter-totter, not even when Sarah got a splinter the size of a matchstick. But Sarah and Mellie, in their overalls and dirty baseball jerseys, never had the boys' heartless prankishness, the little devils dancing in the blacks of their eyes. Jessie had exactly that, and the other kids knew she wasn't a tomboy, never strained to be one of the boys. There was no teasing, no bullying line drawn in the sand. Jane knew that one day soon, in the cove behind John Lyman School, the boys would pull out their penises and demonstrate to Jessie that she could not pee standing up, and it would be terrible for Jessie. Jane was wrong. Jessie watched the boys and practiced at home, making a funnel with both hands and a baggie. When Andrew and Franklin went to pee on the far side of the rhododendron, Jessie came too, unzipping and pushing her hips forward until there was, if not a fine spray, a decent dribble. The boys thought nothing of it until first grade, and when they did and the teacher pushed Jessie firmly into the girls' bathroom, she walked home at recess, horrified by the life ahead, and Jane could not coax her back for a week. It was worse when Jane took her to get a simple navy blue jumper for a friend's wedding. Jane held it out, pleased that she'd found something in Jessie's favorite color without a ruffle or a speck of lace, and Jessie stared at it as if her mother had gone mad, wailing in rage and embarrassment until Jane drove her to Macy's for a boy's navy blazer with gray pants and dared the salesperson to comment. They compromised on patent leather loafers and a white turtleneck. People at the wedding thought only that Jane was her fashionable self and Jessie adorable. Very Kristy McNichol, the bride's mother said. Driving home, Jane knew that she had managed not to see it, as you manage not to see that your neighbor's new baby has your husband's eyes and nose, until one day you run into them at the supermarket and you cannot help but see. Jessie slept the whole way home, smears of buttercream on the white turtleneck, rose petals falling from her blazer pocket, and Jane cried from Storrs to Durham. She had appreciated and pitied her mother and adored her father, a short, dapper man who cartwheeled through the living room at her request and told his own Brooklyn version of Grimm's Fairy Tales at bedtime. She had liked Jessie's handsome father enough to think of marrying him until he was revealed to have a wife in Eau Claire and bad debts in five states. It did not seem possible that the great joke God would play on her was to take the love of her life, a wonderfully improved piece of Jane, and say, Oops. Looks like a girl but it's a boy! Sorry Adjust accordingly. It took Jane all of Jessie's childhood to figure out what the adjustment might be and to save fifty thousand dollars to pay for it. Excerpted from A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You: Stories by Amy Bloom All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love Youp. 3
Rowing to Edenp. 29
Lionel and Julia
Night Visionp. 57
Light into Darkp. 75
Stars at Elbow and Footp. 103
Hold Tightp. 115
The Gates Are Closingp. 125
The Storyp. 147