May We Be Forgiven

A. M. Homes, Author
A.M. Homes. Viking, $26.95 (496p) ISBN 978-0-670-02548-0
Reviewed on: 08/13/2012
Release date: 09/27/2012
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-84708-322-7
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-1-84708-324-1
Open Ebook - 496 pages - 978-1-101-60114-3
Hardcover - 18 pages - 978-1-4712-1054-9
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-1-84708-323-4
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-1-84708-723-2
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-14-750970-3
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4712-2315-0
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It’s difficult to keep track of the number of awful things that happen to Harold Silver in the first 100 pages of Homes’s plodding latest novel. It is equally difficult to care that these things happen to him. Harold’s brother, whose anger problem is alluded to but never explicitly mentioned, goes crazy and murders his wife, among other acts of cruelty. In the wake of this tragedy, Harold is made legal guardian of his brother’s children. Harold’s life continues to unravel as he gets a divorce, loses his job, begins online dating, and endures many other crises that require intense self-reflection. Harold eventually triumphs over his various problems, evolving into the loving, supportive, and thoughtful man he’s never been, but the process feels forced, implausible, and overwrought. While Homes (The Mistress’s Daughter) successfully creates a convincing male protagonist, everything else about Harold’s story fails to persuade. If the reader was given a better sense of who Harold was before his life fell apart, we might be more invested in who he later becomes. The novel suffers from Homes’s insistence on having Harold’s life continually move from bad to worse, forgetting that sometimes less is more. Agent: Sarah Chalfant, the Wiley Agency. (Oct.)
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