cover image Come to Me: Stories

Come to Me: Stories

Amy Bloom. HarperCollins Publishers, $20 (177pp) ISBN 978-0-06-018236-6

Bloom's remarkably consistent first collection of stories includes her award-winning ``Silver Water,'' a sad remembrance of a mentally ill sister and the family that loves yet cannot help her. The story includes elements common to Bloom's work: female protagonists whose lives are changed through psychological trauma, often involving therapists or people embarked on therapy. This makes sense, since Bloom herself is a practicing therapist. She deftly explores the complexity of the therapist-patient relationship (``Song of Solomon'' and the aptly titled, ironic ``Psychoanalysis Changed My Life''); the subtle brutality of troubled families (``Love Is Not a Pie,'' ``Sleepwalking,'' ``When the Year Grows Old''); and the strange compromises struck by couples to maintain tenuous emotional connections (``Sleepwalking''). Taken together, however, Bloom's insights into human love and obsession tend to blur into a long and rather uniform psychoanalytic lesson, undercut occasionally by revelations. She's at her best in showing how people really think, as in a description of a self-effacing housewife's distracted thoughts during sex in ``The Sight of You,'' or in the title story, in which Bloom achieves a soaring complexity in characters whose strange behavior eludes any simple psychological explanation. (June)