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Things You Should Know: A Collection of Storiesby A. M. Homes
Synopses & Reviews
The most daring voice of her generation, A. M. Homes writes with terrifying compassion about the things that matter most. Homes's distinctive narratives illuminate our dreams and desires, our memories and losses, and our profound need for connection, and demonstrate how extraordinary the ordinary can be. In "Chinese Lesson," we meet Geordie, a man watching over his wandering, senile mother-in-law by means of an electronic chip implanted in the back of her neck. In "Remedy," an advertising executive bolts from the city one afternoon for the imagined comfort of her childhood home and finds that her parents have allowed Ray, an eccentric wellness guru, to move in. Sexy and inspiring, "Georgica" offers a meditative narrative about one woman's unconventional strategy for getting pregnant. "The Former First Lady and the Football Hero" is the deeply moving, darkly comic story of a former First Lady's courage in dealing with the President as his mind slowly evaporates.
In these beautifully written stories, we find shapeshifters, children running headlong into the darkness of adolescent sexuality, a man passionately wanting to live but not knowing how. And, most important, we find ourselves. An expert literary witness, A. M. Homes takes us places we would not go alone and brings us back — always with uncanny emotional accuracy, wit, and empathy. She is one of the master practitioners of American fiction, and Things You Should Know is a landmark collection.
"Written over the last decade, with several stories previously published in glossies and literary magazines, this volume confirms Homes's reputation as an expert stylist and unique chronicler of suburban drama." Publishers Weekly
"[A] remarkable range of dramas, with characters whose tenuous or troublingly limited connections Homes establishes with a deft compactness." James O'Laughlin, Booklist
"This author's particular gifts are generally better displayed in novels....Far from perfect but never dull, and the author impresses as always with her willingness to take risks." Kirkus Reviews
"Even when these people end up hurting each other (as they always do), the tempo of Homes' dialogue seems to carry her characters to a cool, open space, and you the reader, follow along as they blaze the trail." Suzy Hansen, Salon.com (read the entire Salon review)
"Homes's storytelling is hypnotic....Despite the oddness of the stories, readers are still able to identify with the characters. Engaging and dynamic, Homes's writing is remarkably surreal. Recommended..." Library Journal
"A.M. Homes never plays it safe and it begins to look as if she can do almost anything." Michael Cunningham
"Haunting, disturbing, often radiantly intense, these protean stories change shape as if they are made of fire." Andrea Barrett
Twelve years after her debut short story collection, The Safety of Objects — recently made into a film — Homes once again unearths the dark side of domestic life in a handful of disturbing pieces.
In this stunningly original collection, A. M. Homes writes with terrifying compassion about the things that matter most. Homes's distinctive narrative illuminates our dreams and desires, our memories and losses, and demonstrates how extraordinary the ordinary can be. With uncanny emotional accuracy, wit, and empathy, Homes takes us places we recognize but would rather not go alone.
About the Author
A.M. Homes is the author of the novels The End of Alice, In a Country of Mothers, and Jack, as well as the short-story collection The Safety of Objects and the artist's book Appendix A. Her fiction has been translated into eight languages, and she is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Her fiction and nonfiction appear in magazines such as The New Yorker and Artforum, among others, and she is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, Mirabella, Bomb, Blind Spot, and Story. She teaches in the writing programs at Columbia University and The New School and lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
The Chinese Lesson 1
Raft in Water, Floating 21
Rockets Round the Moon 91
Please Remain Calm 123
Things You Should Know 132
The Whiz Kids 135
Do Not Disturb 140
The Weather Outside is Sunny and Bright 167
The Former First Lady and the Football Hero 180
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