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This Book Will Save Your Lifeby A.M. Homes
A. M. Homes never fails to deliver an emotionally accurate tale, and here she manages to make it hilarious as well. She has the uncanny ability to lift the curtain and show the absurdities and minutia of life.
Richard Novak's sterile and quiet life is shattered when he ends up in the emergency room one night with an apparent heart attack. Richard is a slightly befuddled man, and he is stuck in an emotional stasis from which he cannot escape. What follows is a tale that only Homes could tell: Richard seems to "collect" people and order their lives while his unravels. (Perhaps his own life must first fall apart in order to start over?) He takes on a woman he meets in a grocery store, as well as a bakery owner, a movie star, a reclusive writer, his own estranged son, and myriad other characters, with a dog to boot.
This sweet, engaging tale shows the wonder that can happen when you finally open yourself up to others and to the world.
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of Music for Torching — an uplifting and apocalyptic tale set in Los Angeles about one man's efforts to bring himself back to life.
Since her debut in 1989, A. M. Homes has been among the boldest and most original voices of her generation, acclaimed for the psychological accuracy and unnerving emotional intensity of her storytelling. Her keen ability to explore how extraordinary the ordinary can be is at the heart of her touching and funny new novel, her first in six years.
Richard Novak is a modern-day Everyman, a middle-aged divorcé trading stocks out of his home. He has done such a good job getting his life under control that he needs no one — except his trainer, nutritionist, and housekeeper. He is functionally dead and doesn't even notice until two incidents — an attack of intense pain that lands him in the emergency room, and the discovery of an expanding sinkhole outside his house — conspire to hurl him back into the world. On his way home from the hospital, Richard forms the first of many new relationships: He meets Anhil, the doughnut shop owner, an immigrant who dreams big. He finds a weeping housewife in the produce section of the supermarket, helps save a horse that has fallen into the sinkhole, daringly rescues a woman from the trunk of her kidnapper's car, and, after the sinkhole claims his house and he has to relocate to a Malibu rental, he befriends a reluctant counterculture icon. In the end, Richard is also brought back in closer touch with his family — his aging parents, his brilliant brother, the beloved ex-wife whom he still desires, and finally, before the story's breathtaking finale, with his estranged son Ben.
The promised land of Los Angeles — a surreal city of earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, and feral Chihuahuas — is also very much a character in This Book Will Save Your Life. A vivid, revealing novel about compassion, transformation, and what can happen if you are willing to lose yourself and open up to the world around you, it should significantly broaden Homes's already substantial audience.
"As Richard Novak is perfecting a life of isolation, a series of bizarre and surreal events force him to reassess his position and reconnect with the world around him. Upon emerging, he is bombarded with a cast of eccentric characters, including an unappreciated soccer mom, a reclusive writer and a jovial doughnut-shop owner. Throughout this darkly humorous audio, Scott Brick supplies excellent tone and subtlety, easily seducing his audience with the opening scene between Novak and a 911 operator. The contrast between the two highlights Brick's ability and range. While his vocal depictions of characters match up and remain consistent, Brick almost falters with the Novak. For the most part, Brick keeps Novak steady but occasionally delivers a speaking voice that doesn't fit the profile range delivered previously. While his uniformity on Novak wavers, his projection of the anxiety and agitation that plague Novak's life cannot be understated. This book probably won't save your life, but it's likely to make you laugh and ponder your own connection with the world. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 23). (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Since her debut in 1989, A. M. Homes has been among the boldest and most original voices of her generation, acclaimed for the psychological accuracy and unnerving emotional intensity of her storytelling. Her ability to explore how extraordinary the ordinary can be is at the heart of her touching and funny new novel, her first in six years. This Book Will Save Your Life is a vivid, uplifting, and revealing story about compassion, transformation, and what can happen if you are willing to lose yourself and open up to the world around you.
About the Author
A. M. Homes is the author of Things You Should Know, Music for Torching, The End of Alice, In a Country of Mothers, The Safety of Objects, and Jack, and Los Angeles: People, Places and the Castle on the Hill. Recipient of Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, she is a Vanity Fair contributing editor and publishes in the New Yorker, Granta, Harper's, McSweeney's, Artforum, and the New York Times.
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