“With dark humor and sharp dialogue, Homes plumbs the depths of everyday American anxieties.” —Time
A razor-sharp story collection from the "furiously good" A.M. Homes, author of the forthcoming novel The Unfolding (Zadie Smith, bestselling author of Swing Time).
With her signature humor and compassion, A.M. Homes exposes the heart of an uneasy America in her new collection - exploring our attachments to each other through characters who aren't quite who they hoped to become, though there is no one else they can be.
In "A Prize for Every Player," a man is nominated to run for president by the customers of a big box store, while he and his family do their weekly shopping. At a conference on genocide(s) in the title story, old friends rediscover themselves and one another - finding spiritual and physical comfort in ancient traditions. And in "Hello Everybody" and "She Got Away," Homes revisits a Los Angeles family obsessed with the surfaces and frightened of what lives below.
In the nearly three decades since her seminal debut collection The Safety of Objects, Homes has been celebrated by readers and critics alike as one of our boldest and most original writers, acclaimed for her psychological accuracy and "satire so close to the truth it's terrifying" (Ali Smith). Her first book since the Women's Prize-winning May We Be Forgiven, Days of Awe is a major new addition to her body of visionary, fearless, outrageously funny work.
Homes's uneven collection of short fiction (following the novel May We Be Forgiven) searches for humor and wonder amidst the anxieties of contemporary America. In "Brother on Sunday," a brother-in-law's unwelcome visit shines light on the blemishes of a very surface-obsessed marriage. Totaling only five pages, "Whose Story Is It, and Why Is It Always on Her Mind?" follows a self-harmer who pushes thorns into the soles of her feet. Over the course of 50 pages, the exemplary title story details a long-coming tryst between two middle-aged writers, a war correspondent and a novelist. Two stories, the pleasantly listless "Hello Everybody" and the movingly tragic "She Got Away," share characters and setting, though each trains its own unique lens onto the lives of young and old in Los Angeles. Strong as these selections may be, the collection suffers overall from the inclusion of the lackluster alongside the great, interesting experiments that never quite feel like finished products. Nowhere is this more evident than in "The National Cage Bird Show," which attempts and fails to take on both military life and sexual assault by way of a chat room for parakeet owners. Still, Homes's fans as well as readers looking for sharp and funny short fiction will find much to enjoy.