-- William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties
I found Amy Hempel through an interview she did with Chuck Palahniuk. Hempel writes about things that ordinarily hold no interest for me. A family weekend BBQ. A woman dealing with an abortion. Things that are very human, but really don't encourage me to care about them.
The way Hempel writes, though, is completely amazing.
Here's a short of hers. Not her best. There's also an explanation, after the story, of the events that inspired it. (If you've read Invisible Monsters, there's a lot of this short story in Palahniuk's book, as well. Not too surprising as he's repeatedly said how much he adores her work.)
I think I prefer not knowing, at least with her work, simply because it's hard for me to discern what might have happened, and what didn't.
I've been trying to get my hands on her second book, but it's out of print, and the cheapest I can find it is $125. Figures.