HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

May We Be Forgiven: A Novel by A. M. Homes
Loading...

May We Be Forgiven: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by A. M. Homes

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5514418,146 (3.63)114
Member:freetrader
Title:May We Be Forgiven: A Novel
Authors:A. M. Homes
Info:Viking Adult (2012), Edition: First Printing, Hardcover, 496 pages
Collections:To Reread/Same Author, Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:fiction, r2012, astrid, candidate, US

Work details

May We Be Forgiven by A. M. Homes (2012)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 114 mentions

English (39)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
During the course of a single year, from one Thanksgiving to the next, Harold Silver goes through a lot. Things start badly when his sister-in-law, whom he secretly covets, kisses him in the kitchen as they are cleaning up after the festive dinner. That sets something in motion, or maybe it just latches onto something that was already in motion. Within a few pages, Harold’s brother, George, commits vehicular manslaughter killing two strangers, then whilst supposedly under supervision in a hospital he walks out and makes his way home and kills his adulterous wife, Jane, after first beating his brother senseless. By now, the reader is most certainly gripping the pages of the book with both hands much like a correspondingly terrifying roller-coaster. But this is only the beginning. Better hold on tight for the ride ahead.

A.M. Homes has a remarkable ability to thrust the reader directly into the action. You can begin to feel a bit breathless and perhaps start hoping for a bit of descriptive relief or nuanced character development to take the edge off. Not happening! Homes instead turns the crank on the plot so that more and more and more stuff just keeps happening. To accomplish this, she seems entirely willing to forego any depth of character, specificity of locale, or plausibility. Harold, a typical Homes protagonist, is a bit befuddled, weighted down with an unpleasant childhood, guilt ridden but earnest, ineffectual at least initially, and, curiously, an apparent sexual magnet, though his life before these events would not have led one to expect this. Harold takes on the burden of his brother’s two young children, his dog and cat, and eventually numerous others as he works through a form of atonement perhaps. But it is atonement that gradually changes Harold himself so that by the end of his annus horribilis he is almost a different person.

The writing here is all surface. But not superficial. At times Homes brilliantly invokes the writing of others. How? By simply having Don DeLillo appear briefly as a character. Or John Cheever. It is a fascinating approach to post-modernism, I suppose. And perhaps it even works. It is hard to say. I’m prepared to accept that views on this novel might diverge drastically. For me, it almost worked and so I gently recommend it to others. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Oct 7, 2014 |
Not a review, but a precis so that I will remember this book.
A darkly comic novel of twenty-first-century domestic life and the possibility of personal transformation.

Harold Silver has spent a lifetime watching his younger brother, George, a taller, smarter, and more successful high-flying TV executive, acquire a covetable wife, two kids, and a beautiful home in the suburbs of New York City. But Harry, a historian and Nixon scholar, also knows George has a murderous temper, and when George loses control the result is an act of violence so shocking that both brothers are hurled into entirely new lives in which they both must seek absolution. ( )
  livrecache | Oct 2, 2014 |
This a dark and disturbing indictment of the American dream−a questioning of what is actually important for the psyche of the nation and what is being lost from up on high, i.e. Nixon onwards, as well as nuclear family values.

The questioning comes from the point of view of the dysfunctional (or are they functional?) POV Harold Silver, which I found fascinating as you are never explicitly told what is wrong with him, and what is residual from his own upbringing. There are ten main personality disorders and he spans a few of them, which is less than his brother that kills his wife and leaves Harry with their kids.

I felt the humour could have been funnier in parts and that would be my only criticism−although those people that recommended this as my first Homes book do not agree.
This book is clever and sometimes so subtle and understated you can easily miss it−I went and reread bits.

Here is the clincher for me. I always finish a book I start, and if it gets to the last 100 pages and I feel I have to lock myself away so other ‘dysfunctionals’ don’t disturb me, I know it is a great book−This was the case here−so I did not need to deliberate long how many stars to awarded it.

If you like dysfunction that casts a quizzical eye over society−what most consider normal, this is for you. The unexpected bizarre events in this book really shouldn’t work−but they do, that is clever in itself. At no point did I feel they were caricatures.

thewritingIMP ( )
  IanMPindar | Aug 21, 2014 |
An oddly enjoyable read, if rather disjointed. Jet-black comedy at the start, soft satire in the middle and, in the end, a schmaltzy ode to family. The book borrows from White Noise - Don DeLillo even has a few cameos - but, where that novel is filled with a sense of dread, this is a dementedly uplifting tragedy. ( )
  alexrichman | Aug 13, 2014 |
I am so glad to finish this book, it was starting to bore me.
It was too busy, to jewish and to many references to Richard Nixon.
I didnt find the characters believable and didnt really like them.
I so wanted to enjoy this book but I didn't it was a relief to finish it. ( )
  Daftboy1 | Jul 31, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)


Almost exactly three-quarters of the way through this wonderful, wild, heartbreaking, hilarious and astonishing novel, A M Homes gives us this paragraph: "And then – the real craziness starts. Later, I will wonder if this part really happened or if I dreamed it."

Given the huge amount of craziness in the 355 pages that precedes that paragraph, this really sets the reader up for a humdinger of a finale, one that Homes delivers with aplomb.....This is a piercing, perceptive and deeply funny novel about the nature of life, and about finding your family wherever you can, wherever you get comfort and something approaching love.
 
The narrative is unrelenting, and yet it makes a kind of sense that all these troubles should be brought to bear on a few individuals. What’s interesting about this book is that for all its ferocious now-ness, its messages are old fashioned. Peace is found in a South African village, amongst community and participation; acts of kindness bring their own rewards. Homes, however, is not a pious or a schmaltzy writer – she is aware that things are compromised, as when George’s son Nate realises that the South African villagers he’s been supporting are really only interested in what material goods they can buy. But this doesn’t detract from the morality of the book’s core. Only connect, Homes tells us, and we can escape the nightmare of the 21st century – if only for a while. .....AM Homes’s ambitious novel, May We Be Forgiven, impresses.
 
To pair sociological sweep with psychological intimacy, as this book sets out to do, is a laudable ambition. It may even be where the vital center of American fiction is, circa 2012. But Homes hasn’t yet developed the formal vocabulary to reconcile her Cheever side and her DeLillo side. Instead, they end up licensing each other’s failures, canceling each other out. And so what might have been a stereoscopic view of The Way We Live Now ends as an ungainly portmanteau: a picaresque in which nothing much happens, a confession we can’t quite believe, a satire whose targets are already dead.
 
And the novel is consistently interesting in more sombre ways, too, as when Harry discusses the "rusty sense of disgust" that he suspects might be his soul. May We Be Forgiven is a semi-serious, semi-effective, semi-brilliant novel which could not be called, overall, an artistic success. But you'd have to have no sense of the absurd, and no sense of humour, not to be pretty impressed.
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Claudia to whom I owe a debt of gratitude
First words
Do you want my recipe for disaster?
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Harold Silver has spent a lifetime watching his younger brother, George, a taller, smarter, and more successful high-flying TV executive, acquire a covetable wife, two kids, and a beautiful home in the suburbs of New York City. But Harry, a historian and Nixon scholar, also knows George has a murderous temper, and when George loses control, the result is an act of violence so shocking that the brothers are hurled into entirely new lives in which they both must seek absolution.
Harry finds himself suddenly playing parent to his brother's two adolescent children, tumbling - hilariously -
down the rabbit hole of Internet sex, and dealing with aging parents who move through time like travelers on a fantastic voyage. Never having realized he was lost, he slowly starts to open up to the world around him, to rise to the occasion and take some risks. As Harry builds a new life and a modern family created by choice rather than biology, we become aware of the ways in which our history, both personal and political, can become our destiny and compel us to either repeat our errors or be the catalyst for change.
In this bold, playful, tenderhearted, and redemptive novel, by turns rollicking and serious and filled with all of her signature touches and flourishes, A.M. Homes digs deeply into themes of the American family, the near biblical intensity of fraternal relationships, our need to make sense of things, and our craving for connection. May We Be Forgiven is an unnerving, funny tale of unexpected intimacies and of how one deeply fractured family might begin to put itself back together.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Feeling overshadowed by his more-successful younger brother, Harold is shocked by his brother's violent act that irrevocably changes their lives, placing Harold in the role of father figure to his brother's adolescent children and caregiver to his aging parents.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
126 wanted2 pay4 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.63)
0.5 2
1 5
1.5 1
2 12
2.5 6
3 30
3.5 24
4 59
4.5 16
5 25

Audible.com

An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 93,884,689 books! | Top bar: Always visible