A new book by A.M. Homes is always an event in the Colford household. Homes is one of the few authors that both Scot and I love and read together. Homes is the author of six novels, two short story collections, a memoir, a travel memoir. She adapted her own novel for teens, Jack, as a teleplay. Her celebrated collection of short stories, The Safety of Objects was adapted to the screen by Rose Troche. Her latest novel is a twisted literary odyssey that is, while being in the runner-up position for best book I read in 2012, is definitely my favorite book published in 2012 that I read.
A.M. Homes has created something astounding with May We Be Forgiven. This modern tale of redemption followed Harold Silver, a man on the outside looking in, who is forced to stop watching and start participating, when his older brother George comes unwound and becomes responsible for a series of deaths. Harold suddenly finds himself responsible for the care of George’s two children, his home, his pets, and getting his own life back on track. But before he can do any of that, he must descend into the surreal, rhythms of a life that buffets him around from one unsettling experience to the next. I loved this book. It starts off with a series of shocking events, then peels back the facade of the upper middle-class to expose some pretty bizarre, and sometimes ugly behavior. Readers will be left alternately disturbed and chuckling by Homes’ straight-forward writing style married to her startling circumstances. Characters frequently misunderstand each other to comic or tragic effect. But somewhere along the way, with sublime subtlety, Homes starts to turn things around, and allow George to piece his life back together. As the title may suggest, this is a powerful, and beautifully rendered story of forgiveness.