I just finished reading “Come to Me” by Amy Bloom. This was my very first excursion into the literary world of this author and having read this collection of stories I am now confident that it won’t be my last.
I try not to use the expression “hauntingly beautiful” to describe things because it sounds trite to me. But in this case, it applies. I found these images, sentences, even sentence fragments floating through my mind while driving to work or walking my dog. These melodic phrases would drift through my memory and remind me of the emotions I felt while reading the piece. I’d find myself daydreaming about the stories during work when my mind wandered. You know, haunting me.
She touches on the depths of human emotion in these amazingly succinct ways- memories of smells, sounds, sights and physical sensations that are so fleshed out they feel as though they’ve come from your own memory. The mundane details that make up a life appear as songs from long ago that you remember the melody to but can’t quite place the words. Like faded photographs that evoke such intense emotion it steals your breath and you can’t understand how something so fragile could be real.
And the stories are so heartbreaking that the emotions hit you just as hard as the beautiful language she uses to describe them. Grief, loss, love, devotion, longing and feeling forever lost within the confines of your own life are all displayed so vividly here that it’s actually a little overwhelming. This is why it took me so long to get through such a short book- each story was so intense and emotionally draining that I had to stop and take a break afterwards, distract myself with something light and easy.
Perhaps it is because she is a kindred sprit- a therapist during the day as well (or at least she was when this early collection was published)- that I connected so well to these stories. But I don’t think that’s why. I think that it’s because she is a writer- pure and simple- and she does what all writers seek to do. She captures human life in her words and lays the lives of her characters bare for us to see.
I can imagine, or I like to imagine myself being a better writer for having read her work. That’s what I think of the talents of Amy Bloom. And in the end, isn’t that the best compliment you can give?