Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

2013 Women's Prize for Fiction Winner

May We Be Forgiven by A.M.Homes


Publisher: Granta Publications

Length: 368 Pages

About: Rival brothers stick together in adversity

Style: 3rd person

Where: US & South Africa

When: 2012


Publisher’s synopsis:

Harry is a Richard Nixon scholar who leads a quiet, regular life; his brother George is a high-flying TV producer, with a murderous temper.They have been uneasy rivals since childhood.Then one day George's loses control so extravagantly that he precipitates Harry into an entirely new life. In May We Be Forgiven, Homes gives us a darkly comic look at 21st century domestic life - at individual lives spiraling out of control, bound together by family and history.The cast of characters experience adultery, accidents, divorce, and death. But this is also a savage and dizzyingly inventive vision of contemporary America, whose dark heart Homes penetrates like no other writer - the strange jargons of its language, its passive aggressive institutions, its inhabitants' desperate craving for intimacy and their pushing it away with litigation, technology, paranoia. At the novel's heart are the spaces in between, where the modern family comes together to re-form itself. May We Be Forgiven explores contemporary orphans losing and finding themselves anew; and it speaks above all to the power of personal transformation - simultaneously terrifying and inspiring.




A young cop shows up, "You okay?"

I nod.

"We got a call about a crying man?"

"Is that illegal?"

"No, but you don't see much of that around here, especially this time of year. Home from work?"

"Laid off, and the exterminator is in the house today, and they asked me to leave. Park seemed like the place to go."

"Most people go shopping," the cop says.


"Yeah, when people don't know what to do with themselves, they go to the mall, walk up and down, and spend money."

"I never thought of it," I say. "I'm not much of a shopper."

"It's what they do."

"Even with a dog?"

"Yep, you've got your outdoor malls and your indoor."

The cop stands there.

"I don't mean to be rude, but this is a public park and I'm minding my own business."

"No camping," the cop says. "No loitering."

"How can you tell if someone is loitering versus just enjoying the park? The sign says it's open from 7am to dusk. I walked here with the dog so we could enjoy being outside. Apparently that's not okay, apparently in this town going into the park is considered weird. And you know what, you're right – it must be, because there's no one here; the whole park is empty except for you and me, so I apologize."




May We Be Forgivenis a semi-serious, semi-effective, semi-brilliant novel which could not be called, overall, an artistic success. But you'd have to have no sense of the absurd, and no sense of humour, not to be pretty impressed.

Theo Tait, the Guardian, 19th October 2013


Not so good


...its cynicism; its dearth of affect – but for me her writing is too richly particularised to function as state-of-the-nation satire. Better to read this as an entertainment, to sit back and enjoy Homes's delicious black humour, her sharp characterisation, and – yes – that thrilling narrative intensity.

David Evans, Independent 30th June 2013


About the author

Amy M. Homes (pen name A. M. Homes; born December 18, 1961,Washington, D.C). is an American writer.

In her memoir The Mistress's Daughter, she describes meeting her birth parents. Her birth mother, Ellen Ballman, is a mentally unstable woman who had a child with her much older, married boss, Norman Hecht. She initiated contact because she was hoping that Homes would donate a kidney to her.

She currently lives in New York City with her young daughter. She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia University, The New School, and New York University. She currently teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University.



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Age guide: 15+




Novels by same author:




Adaptations: None to date.





















































2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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