May We be Forgiven

A. M. Homes

May We be Forgiven
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May We be Forgiven

A. M. Homes

Harry is a Richard Nixon scholar who leads a quiet, regular life; his brother George is a high-flying TV producer, with a murderous temper. They have been uneasy rivals since childhood. Then one day George’s loses control so extravagantly that he precipitates Harry into an entirely new life. In MAY WE BE FORGIVEN, Homes gives us a darkly comic look at 21st century domestic life - at individual lives spiraling out of control, bound together by family and history. The cast of characters experience adultery, accidents, divorce, and death. But it is also a savage and dizzyingly inventive satire on contemporary America, whose dark heart Homes penetrates like no other writer - the strange jargons of its language, its passive aggressive institutions, its inhabitants' desperate craving for intimacy and their pushing it away with litigation, technology, paranoia. At the novel’s heart are the spaces in between, where the modern family comes together to re-form itself. MAY WE BE FORGIVEN explores contemporary orphans losing and finding themselves anew; and it speaks above all to the power of personal transformation - simultaneously terrifying and inspiring.

Review

Every now and then you stumble across a writer that rocks your world. A.M. Homes has certainly rocked mine.

Described by The Guardian as having ‘the narrative intensity of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections and the emotional punch of Siri Hustvedt’s What I Loved ’ – two of my favourites – suburban life in the twenty-first century has never been so disturbingly funny than when seen through the piercing glare of Homes.

May We Be Forgiven focuses on two brothers. Harold Silver (Harry), a Richard Nixon scholar, has spent his life in the shadow of younger brother, George, a taller, smarter, high-flying TV exec. While George has a beautiful wife, two kids and a big home in the suburbs of New York City, he also has a crazy temper. When George loses total control one day, this act of violence changes both brothers’ lives forever.

The narrative initially revolves around the mystery of what really happened to George when he crashed his car and killed two people. (But Harry certainly shouldn’t be left off the hook. While he seems quite harmless from the outside, he is having sex with his brother’s wife while George is seriously injured in hospital.)

However, the real story unfolds when we are confronted with the question of whether Harry is going to cope with his life imploding as he is hurled into the role of the parent, forced to care for his brother’s two adolescent children. His marriage crumbles and he dabbles in internet sex, reignites his passion for Nixon and attempts to make overcompensatory amends to the boy who was orphaned in George’s car crash. Against all odds, Harry builds a new family life created by choice rather than biology.

May We Be Forgiven is ultimately a story of dysfunctional families, forgiveness, the human craving for intimacy, the illusion of success and personal transformation. It is no wonder Homes has turned to television in recent years, writing for The L Word and currently developing a new major US TV series for HBO called The Hamptons.

I now can’t wait to read what is known as Homes’ previous bestselling novel, This Book Will Save Your Life.


Emily Harms is Readings’ Marketing Manager and is a regular insomniac in her spare time.

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