Friday, July 26, 2013

May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes

I had no expectations when I started this book, other than I knew that the author won the Women's Prize for fiction. I just learned that she also went to the Iowa Writer's Workshop. No big surprise. Because this is one of the best, funniest, most though-provoking novels that's come along in a long time.

It starts with an ordinary guy named Harold. A nice, married, educated, normal guy. He has an extraordinary brother. Extraordinarily obnoxious, mean, crass, and successful. In comes obnoxious brother's wife who plants a big Thanksgiving kiss on her brother-in-law in the middle of her kitchen. And all goes downhill from there. Or does it?

The kiss and ensuing affair bring on a terrible, horrifying, hilarious chain of events for Harold. The consequences of his actions with his sister-in-law could never be imagined. His life changes so completely in the year following it that the reader is inexplicably drawn in to laugh at the absurdity and cry at the heartbreaking reality. But good guys don't always finish last, and nice guys can learn from their mistakes. Harold is that guy.

I found myself loving Harold's dry wit and tell-it-like-it-is style. He recognizes that his life really couldn't get any worse, so he might as well make it better. The author's writing style in bringing a guy like Harold to life is fascinating, and unique. I loved it, and I couldn't put it down. This kind of dark comedy is not appealing to everyone, including me usually. But I hope you'll give Harold a try. And I hope that you will, indeed, forgive him. I know I did.