Things You Should Know Paperback – 1 Apr 2013
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"A. M. Homes is certainly among the most important young writers working now"--Robert Stone
About the Author
A.M. HOMES is the author of the novels, May We Be Forgiven,This Book Will Save Your Life, Music for Torching, The End of Alice, In a Country of Mothers and Jack, and two collections of short stories, Things You Should Know and The Safety of Objects and the highly acclaimed memoir, The Mistress's Daughter, as well as the travel memoir, Los Angeles: People, Places and the Castle on the Hill. She is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and writes frequently on arts and culture for numerous magazines and newspapers. She lives in New York City.
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Top customer reviews
This collection of eleven short stories is extremely varied; in length, subject matter, style and genre. I didn't read them in order, but that's one of the joys of a collection of short stories. The story THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW, about a so-called mysterious and magical list, is only three pages long, but one of my favourites. Another favourite is ROCKETS AROUND THE MOON which is about a boy who stays with his father in the summers but actually spends more time with the family next door. He is equally devastated when disaster strikes for the family. THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS SUNNY AND BRIGHT reminded me a little of Black Swan, the 2010 Oscar winning film starring Natalie Portman.
If you enjoy reading short stories, some a little on the bizarre side, some more about the mundanities of life, you should try this collection.
What immediately struck me, as I began to read Things You Should Know, was Homes’ unique voice. It wasn’t a particularly unusual voice, however its easy manner reassured me of a writer with real talent. Many stories have been written where the tone feels as difficult as the subject matter, but Homes manages to write in such a way that you are fully convinced of the story she is telling.
There is so much sadness in this collection – a woman struggling to get pregnant, a child who thinks he’s missed out on knowing important life information, and a president slipping into the grip of Alzheimer’s. These aren’t angst-ridden stories though because, whilst their themes are emotive and Homes clearly contains this in her dialogue, they’re written in a way that draws the reader in. We’re not just observing the scenes. Instead we are captivated by what is happening in seemingly ordinary people’s lives, living it out with them, and thinking, “this could be me.”
Until recently short stories and I had a bit of a struggle between me wanting to read them because I want to write more of them, and yet not finding stories that satisfied me. I love stories that have a clear beginning, middle and end, a narrative arc, and stories that don’t leave you thinking that there was no real intent in them. Lately, I have come across some real gems and Things You Should Know is one of them
"Whiz Kids" is distasteful and pointless. The title tale could do with having been a little longer. "Please Remain Calm" is oddly devoid of emotion. However, don't miss out on a lovely collection because of these three! Read and enjoy.
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