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246 Reviews
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90 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dysfunctional families from 21st century gothic Homes.
An outstanding year for new literary fiction culminates for me in a book of quite astonishing bravery, audacity and hilariously grim satire. Can this really be the state of the middle-class nuclear family in the US today? A. M. Homes seems to be saying that it is. This book is a disturbing read; it is definitely not for the faint-hearted. But it is definitely for anyone...
Published 18 months ago by Sue Kichenside

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I give up
I've kept with it for the first quarter of this book in the hope it was heading somewhere, but now I don't even care where its heading.
Every single character is entirely unpleasant, acerbic and rude. I'd hate to think what's given the author such a depressing view of people.
Published 5 months ago by Gary Docherty


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90 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dysfunctional families from 21st century gothic Homes., 26 Dec 2012
By 
Sue Kichenside - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: May We be Forgiven (Hardcover)
An outstanding year for new literary fiction culminates for me in a book of quite astonishing bravery, audacity and hilariously grim satire. Can this really be the state of the middle-class nuclear family in the US today? A. M. Homes seems to be saying that it is. This book is a disturbing read; it is definitely not for the faint-hearted. But it is definitely for anyone who appreciates razor-sharp writing.

Briefly, it is the story of two brothers: Harold, the narrator, and George, just eleven months younger. George is a thoroughly nasty piece of work and now he has lost his mind. A trail of devastating events leaves mild-mannered, college lecturer Harold to pick up the pieces. Will he be able to cope? Will he ever finish his book on Richard Milhous Nixon? And why, you may ask, is he writing a book about a discredited dead ex-President whom none of his students remember? Factor in a couple of disturbed children (excellent characters, these), internet dating with some fairly grubby sex and a legal system that seems unacquainted with the term `justice', and you have an unflinching indictment of middle-class America in the early years of the 21st century. Read it and weep.

But you will also laugh because it is very funny. Even funnier, perhaps, for Jewish readers. Towards the end of the book there is a noticeable mellowing and when the family travels to a tiny village in South Africa to celebrate Harold's nephew Nate's Bar Mitzvah, Homes reveals that she can do tenderness and optimism too.

What makes A. M. Homes such an interesting writer is that she does not fit neatly into any particular pigeon-hole and she knows how to nail her targets with needle-sharp precision. Devastating.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I give up, 13 Feb 2014
This review is from: May We Be Forgiven (Paperback)
I've kept with it for the first quarter of this book in the hope it was heading somewhere, but now I don't even care where its heading.
Every single character is entirely unpleasant, acerbic and rude. I'd hate to think what's given the author such a depressing view of people.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too loose and episodic for me, 1 Nov 2012
By 
Norman Housley (Leicester United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: May We be Forgiven (Hardcover)
A.M. Homes has two great strengths - a hghly accessible, liquid prose style and an engaging sense of humour. There are passages in this novel that are hilarious. But it's too long and meandering, and much of it is simply incredible, so much so that at times I wondered if it wasn't actually depicting the first person narrator having a nervous breakdown. About 60 per cent of what happens is realistic, the rest is bizarre or surreal. Most of the characters don't have life and those that do, including the narrator, are pretty dull. Too often the plot just becomes disassociated from reality, in social or economic terms.
Homes seems to have more of an audience in the USA than in the UK, given that this is only the second review. Maybe her satire of contemporary life is more appreciated there - though to me her novels are too wacky to be truly effective as satire.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not convincing., 28 Feb 2014
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The first of A M Homes I have read and I struggled to believe why it has been so well received. The plot was loosely structured and too much happened that was completely implausible, there's only so far you can suspend disbelief. Random pointless events punctuate the narrative and about halfway through you stop caring about any of the characters, with the possible exception of the two bereaved children. Don't know if I'll attempt another
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gave up with 100 pages to go, 13 Feb 2014
This review is from: May We Be Forgiven (Paperback)
I quite enjoyed Homes last novel; this book will save your life and I found the first 50 pages of this novel equally as interesting. From then on, well I'm still working out how to go about claiming back all those wasted hours I spent ploughing through the rest. There's a plot in there somewhere but boy, does it go on and on and on. Does Home contract state that her first draft is the only draft that will be published because this book could do with losing 200 pages of rambling nothingness. It lacks structure, plot and any strong characterisation. How it won awards I do not know.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars did nothing for me, 4 April 2014
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I just found it a little pretentious and boring. And its just so convenient that the main character has so much money that she can take him wherever she wants to, and its never an issue. Utterly unrealistic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious, trivial and unbelievable., 28 Oct 2013
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I only finished the book becuase it was a book club read - the start promised great things but rapidly descended into a boring rant of disconnected and increasingly incredible incidents. I cared for none of the characters and couldnt believe in any of them either - it didnt work as picaresque, didnt work as story telling or character building. When we got to the Bar Mitzvah in Africa I almost gave up. What on earth were the judges thinking?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst book I've ever read... really., 24 Oct 2013
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This review is from: May We Be Forgiven (Paperback)
I wish I could take back the hours wasted on this absurd and far from humorous book... I think this will forever remain in my mind as the worst book I've ever read which is a pretty strong statement coming from someone who just generally loves reading. I had high hopes based on other reviews which left me wondering if I missed something but after further analysis I can only say that I guess this type of absurdity is not my thing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Odd storyline, 3 Oct 2013
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This book started so well and had me gripped from the first few pages. However, it just became stranger and stranger. I persevered until about 30% of the way through and actually gave up. Maybe just not my kind of thing, but I felt like it just deteriorated rapidly from an eventful and well written start to actually not managing to keep my interest at all and finding the main character very unlikeable didn't help. Very disappointing as I don't usual abandon books altogether.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me., 29 Oct 2013
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This story is delivered in such a way that I can't bring myself to care about the characters or what happens to them. For the first time in years I have abandoned a book a quarter of the way through, and I feel vaguely inclined to ask for a refund.
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