Thursday, August 1, 2013

May We Be Forgiven

May We Be Forgiven
A. M. Homes

This is the funniest book I have ever read! And apparently I am not the only one who thinks it’s hilarious and very well written. It just won this year’s Bailey’s (as in Irish Cream) Women’s Prize for Fiction, previously the Orange prize. The novel is a Canterbury Tales of twenty-first-century America, chronicling the comical adventures of Harold, a Jewish (Vu den?), divorced, and soon-to-be-laid-off Nixon specialist, as he attempts to make sense of and cope with the extremely violent and basically insane actions of his narcissistic and psychopathic—Is there a difference?—younger brother, a successful TV network executive, not to mention a large dose of sibling rivalry and adulterer’s guilt. Move over Gary Shteyngart and Michael Chabon, A. M. Homes is the great Jewish comic novelist! A provocative thought because she was adopted, but who cares? It only proves the case of Nurture over Nature.

This book has it all: exploits in the American health system; the dangers (and delights) of Internet sex; a faux-English public (private) school replete with athletic competitions on Fields Day; an executive mental health facility known as The Lodge Inc. whose therapy options oscillate between tennis lessons and psychosurgery, and an aging, dyspeptic dog, the family’s emotional glue. But wait, there’s more: nursing home weddings, a Bar Mitzvah in a South African village, and Nixon’s role in the Kennedy assassination! It never stops. Every page is hysterical. ‘Nuff said—you must read this book! And may we all be forgiven.

- Brian Ostrow

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