cover image The Safety of Objects: Stories

The Safety of Objects: Stories

A. M. Homes. W. W. Norton & Company, $17.95 (173pp) ISBN 978-0-393-02884-3

In each of these 10 stories by the author of Jack , characters' thoughts and deeds veer far beyond ordinary boundaries. The couple in ``Adults Alone,'' whose children have been left with a grandmother for a few days, descend into mindless torpor and crack-smoking. Reality returns with the news that their boys are coming home early. In ``Jim Train,'' a character whose office is unexpectedly closed also finds himself slipping off the edge of self-definition. Homes's characters need to hang on to the safety of their everyday lives, and the point that reverberates through these fictions is how tenuous a hold they actually have. In ``A Real Doll,'' a teenage boy has a series of erotic encounters with his little sister's Barbie doll: ``I'm Tropical, she said, the same way a person might say I'm Catholic or I'm Jewish.''stet punctuation.eed Ken, she complains, ``Is not what you'd call well-endowed. . . . All he's got is a little plastic bump.'' After an even more bizarre sexual liaison with Ken, the narrator becomes disenchanted with Barbie, who has been mutilated by her owner. Though occasionally given to straining for shocking effect, Homes has here demonstrated a quirky and original flair. QPB selection. (Aug.)