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The Safety of Objects [Paperback]

A. M. Homes
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

14 Oct 2004
The Safety of Objects, A.M Homes' first collection of short stories, is as hilarious, perverse and extraordinary as all of Homes' books. In one of the stories, a girl's blonde Barbie doll seduces her teenaged brother in an intense episode of erotic obsession; in others a couple go off the rails and smoke crack while their children are staying with their Grandmother; and a lawyer seeks revenge on his boss by urinating into his potted plant every evening. The stories are both bizarre and believable, very funny but also frightening and sad.

Product details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; New edition edition (14 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862076901
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862076907
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 528,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘Homes couldn’t be more deliciously named: she kicks over the doll’s house and gives suburbanity a good shake’ -- The Guardian

‘Homes opens a window on a world where our neuroses rot in full view’ -- Sunday Herald

‘One of the best writers of her generation…absolutely in control of her subject. Simply surreal, funny and utterly original’ -- Leeds Guide

From the Back Cover

A provocative, astute and playful collection of stories, A.M Homes gives us an unnerving glimpse through the windows of contemporary suburban life at its most bizarre. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Elaine takes the boys to Florida and drops them off like they're dry cleaning. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peculiar People 22 Dec 2004
By Westley
In a series of skillfully constructed short stories, A. M. Homes has unveiled with great élan the frightening underside of suburbia. The characters run the gamut from a disappointed pedophile to a lascivious obese girl, from a responsible mother gone wild on a weekend away from her children to a teen boy who becomes strangely attracted to his sister's Barbie. However, revealing any more about these stories would be unseemly, as the degenerate twists are part of their seductive powers.
Despite the shocking premises, the basic situations and feelings evoked are often universal - making this book a somewhat uneasy read. The reader does not want to identify with these characters, but Homes, with laser-like precision, forces the reader to just such apperception. Reading "Safety of Objects" left me alternately paralyzed with laughter and oddly nauseous - a true mark of genius! This book is the first I've read by Homes, but I'm already eagerly anticipating the next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Darker Side of Suburbia... 20 Jun 2004
A.M. Homes has painted a dark and bizarre picture of suburbia, knocking down that whole fantasy of how the suburbs are pure and clean. She has put together a twisted collection of stories that are subtle, outrageous and downright disturbing. This is not an easy read for those who have weak stomachs or are extremely sensitive. However, if you're looking for something a little more darker and sinister, "The Safety of Objects" just might be the thing for you.
When you think of "suburbia," you think of somewhere that is safe, quiet, boring and normal. These stories take place in a neighborhood that could very well resemble somewhere where YOU live. The truth is that this "normal" neighborhood is contaminated with bizarre behavior and unbelievable stories. There's the couple who decide to do drugs when their kids are away from home. There's the kid who was abducted by a kidnapper, only to end up being a big disappointment to the abductor. There's the mother with the son that is in a coma after a car accident, and she doesn't know what should be done. And let's not forget about the little boy who has an extreme obsession with his sister's Barbie doll. These are only some of the stories you will uncover in this unrelenting and unapologetic read.
Homes has a great way of getting straight to the point without using any extra or unnecessary words. Her writing reminds me a little of Raymond Carver, only more twisted and graphic. She's able to create some very interesting and creepy characters without having to give you their complete life story. While there are some stories that I like more than others, I found myself enjoying the entire book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bizarrely disturbing but riveting 4 Sep 2007
By K-Pax
I am not a great lover of short stories to be honest excepting early Ray Bradbury in my formative years but it's been a while since I read a book which is so discomfitting and accurate in its portrayal of characters and their nuances. Because, the stories are very short, it's not a book that you can read in a oner but one to be savoured for each novella and all it encompasses. All but one of the stories are superb in their execution (I just couldn't see the point of 'The Bullet Stopper') and while some of the events played out make for strange fodder, the book as a whole is easily digestible. Excellent.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good on the details, witty. 24 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The short stories in this short collection are entertaining miniatures. There are no big stories, no big ideas and no twists in the tales, but each is finely done and carefully observed.

This is not realist literature, despite its convincingly depicted suburban setting, but realism overlaid with a slight edge of hallucination. Close enough to reality to be conceivable, but cranked up just enough to be amusing without becoming melodramatic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL! 17 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I think the best way to describe this book is, you know your own very private thoughts, the ones you'll never speak of, they're your own special thoughts which will never be shared. These thoughts can be fun, dark, shocking, erotic, but for your own self respect you'll never share them. A.M Homes invites us into peoples lives and you get to read these deep, dark, amusing, disturbing thoughts.

As with everything I've read of hers, I couldn't put the book down once started. Thought provoking and embarrassing from the point that there are times and situations that came back to mind from within my own deeply shrouded inner self.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ok, I'm not a fan of short story collections. when I pick up a book I like to get into it, get to know the characters, and go on a journey with them. I don't like the stop-and-start-again nature of short story collections.

So, when the second chapter came along, I was hit by that usual sinking feeling of "oh no, it's a collection of short stories, isn't it!".

Whilst I still think there should be a law that all short story collections should have to say as much, clearly, in their title and on their cover, to avoid such accidental purchases, I did, probably for the first time, actually enjoy this collection.

There was something cohesive about it, which made the stories all seem part of a whole, as if it was a novel, just where each chapter had different characters who never met. You could, though, imagine them meeting, or passing through in the background of each other's lives.

It also helped that each of the stories was engaging and a great read with interesting characters, and that each story was of a similar length, so you got a feel for how much to invest in each one (unlike some collections, where the stories can vary from very short to several chapters).

I'd actually even recommend it to others, and will definitely be getting some of the author's other works.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Perfect - as new
Published 1 day ago by Pauline Neary
1.0 out of 5 stars uncomfortable reading
Although well written some of the subject matter portrayed in the stories was disturbing and made an uncomfortable read. Not recommended
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfinished
What an awful collection of short stories. No real beginning and no real end to any of them. Some were self-induglent stream-of-consciousness stuff about nothing (why was that... Read more
Published 11 months ago by J. Ling
3.0 out of 5 stars Be Warned
A. M. Homes is clearly a talented writer with the ability to vividly describe a whole range of situations and experiences. Read more
Published 16 months ago by K. Barnacle
4.0 out of 5 stars Vividly disturbing short stories
I don't normally like short story collections, but this was perfect for reading on the tube. The characters were very well written for such short stories, it didn't feel like they... Read more
Published 19 months ago by PJ
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and full of cynicism
A great, readable collection of dark stories. Although the subjects can be regarded as quite controversial, within each story there is something deeply human and moving.
Published 20 months ago by Pete Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Off-the-wall
Enjoyable set of off-the-wall short stories - snapshots of modern American life. Starts with the weakest 'Adults Alone' but worth persevering for 'Looking for Johnny', 'The I of... Read more
Published on 10 Jun 2012 by JoTownhead
3.0 out of 5 stars The desperate horrors of suburban America
Somewhat disappointing given the tremendous depth and sense of realism of her last collection of short fiction Things You Should Know, these stories are slighter and have a rather... Read more
Published on 14 Sep 2009 by Eileen Shaw
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