Megan Harlan
August 16, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You

Current Status
In Season
Amy Bloom
Random House
Short Stories, Fiction

We gave it an A-

While there’s no actual evidence that Amy Bloom, a practicing psychotherapist, draws fodder from her patients’ lives, the eight witty, whip smart, and deeply moving tales in A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You do explore situations that might lead a person to the couch. In ”Rowing to Eden,” a breast cancer victim undergoes chemo while her befuddled husband and lesbian best friend engage in rivalrous caretaking; in ”The Gates Are Closing,” a woman watches as her lover, the sexy husband of her synagogue’s president, falls victim to Parkinson’s.

Yet as Bloom offers quirky, searching analyses of how people adapt to life transforming change, her writing is anything but clinical. The passionate title story is typical: A mother is stunned when her college age daughter undergoes a sex change operation, the details of which are wryly recorded (”Jess knows that Jane will want a cigarette before they go choose what kind of penis Jess will have”) and deftly intertwined with the mother’s sexual reawakening. Bloom’s tales are an exotic variety, blossoming with humor, empathy, and insight.

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