Olive Kitteridge is an amazing short story cycle that fully deserved it's pulitzer a few years ago. The titular character is a retired school teacher with a raft of issues, but the fascinating thing about the way the story is told is how slowly she unfolds. Olive appears as a peripheral character in the early stories, and bit by bit she becomes more central. The themes of family and loss spun throughout the stories really culminate in the final pieces that take a clear eyed look at a life full of mistakes. Good for a rainy day if you're a fan of wallowing in epiphany, like me. ~Caroline.
No one was happier than me to see A.M Homes win the recent Women's Prize (formerly the Orange Prize) for fiction last month.
May We Be Forgiven was simply the best novel I read this year, and I've been a fan for a very long time. I owe Chris Alic, an old Words Worth staffer for putting me onto Homes in the first place and Music for Torching is an all time favourite as well.
Homes dabbles in TV writing (L Word) but the new book is a legitimate contender for the elusive Great American Novel turf. The novel is, at it's core, a story of familial competition between George and Harold Silver.
George is smarter, taller, more suave and successful; until a shocking act of violence undoes this conceit. From there, May We Be Forgiven tells of how the Silvers, and by extension all of us, make a family in an era both personal and political of what's left of the family and how they make what's left work, is too detailed to go into, but Homes runs counter to the prevailing novel in which, nice people do interest of diminishing choices and rapid change. The journey, both personal and political of what's left of the family and how they make what's left work, is too detailed to go into, but Homes runs counter to the prevailing novel in which, nice people do interesting things and learn to live and grow together. The Silvers fight, betray, scheme and make the Borgias look like spectators, while never losing sight that they are-for better or worse-a family
Homes has been around for years, and as perfected a stiletto-like delivery and the speed to get to the meat of a narrative quickly. Along with Lydia Millet and Lionel Shriver she's about as blue chip as the modern novel gets. I'll simply drop everything to read new work.