The award winning series of classic and contemporary fiction returns with a collection of darkly funny short stories by the likes of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Aimee Bender, A.M. Homes, Nathan Englander, Kim, Addonizio, and George Saunders. Readers include Anjelica Huston, Neil Gaiman, Michael Imperioli, Harris Yulin, Christina Pickles, Jefferson Mays, and Christine Ebersole.
"Come close to me, and I'll eat your life."
Paul and Elaine have two boys and a beautiful home, yet they find themselves thoroughly, inexplicably stuck. Obsessed with 'making things good again', they spin the quiet terrors of family life into a fantastical frenzy that careens well and truly out of control. From a hilarious encounter in the pantry with a Stepford Wife neighbour, to a hostage situation at the school, Homes lays bare the foundations of marriage and family life.
May We Be Forgiven, a darkly comic novel of 21st-century domestic life, stars Harold Silver, a historian who's always been jealous of his successful brother, George. But when the hot-tempered George is institutionalized for committing a violent act, Harold finds himself comforting his brother's wife and children. What follows is a scathing examination of a family so fractured it may never be whole again.
"Give this one a try!"
Richard is a modern day everyman; a middle-aged divorcee trading stocks out of his home. He has done such a good job getting his life under control that he needs no one. His life has slowed almost to a standstill until two incidents conspire to hurl him back into the world. One day he wakes up with a knotty cramp in his back, which rapidly develops into an all-consuming pain. At the same time a wide hole appears outside his living room window, threatening the foundations of his house.
Before A.M. Homes was born, she was put up for adoption. Her birth mother was a 22-year-old single woman who was having an affair with a much older married man with children of his own. The Mistress's Daughter is the story of what happened when, 30 years later, her birth parents came looking for her.
"Being a good listener rewards in the end"
Harold Silver, a Richard Nixon Scholar, has spent a lifetime watching his younger, taller, and more successful brother, George. But Harry knows that George has a murderous temper, and when he finally loses control the result is an act of violence which hurls the two brothers into entirely new lives. A savage and dizzyingly inventive vision that penetrates the dark heart of contemporary America to tell a darkly comic tale of 21st-century domestic life and how one deeply fractured family might begin to put itself back together.
"Perfect comic timing"
Richard Novak is a modern-day everyman: a middle-aged divorcee trading stocks out of his home. He has done such a good job of getting his life under control that he needs no one, except his trainer, nutritionist, and housekeeper. His life has slowed almost to a standstill - until two incidents conspire to hurl him back into the world.
The End of Alice treads the thin line between the evil and the everyday and caused a major controversy when it was first published. The story centres on a disturbing correspondence between the narrator, a middle-aged killer serving his twenty-third year in prison; and his slang-speaking, sweet-seeming admirer, a nineteen-year-old girl intent on seducing a young neighbourhood boy. Slowly, through these letters, the narrator's dangerous character emerges.
For Claire Roth, an established psychotherapist, her new patient - Jody Goodman, a young filmmaker - is a welcome diversion from her predictable life. Jody, successful, yet uncertain, is disarmed by Claire's interest and approval. Gradually, the lines between friendship and family, between love and compulsion, start to blur. In a Country of Mothers is a transfixing psychological thriller, that forces us to confront our own judgments about sanity, danger, and desire.
On the day that Homes was born in 1961, she was given up for adoption. Her birth parents were a twenty-two year old woman and an older married man with whom she was having an affair. Thirty years later, out of the blue, Homes was contacted by a lawyer on behalf of her birth mother and they began to correspond; her biological father contacted her soon after. These two individuals and their effect on the adult Homes are strange and unexpected and the story spirals into something utterly raw and hilarious.
Jack is a teenager who wants nothing more than to be normal - even if being normal means having divorced parents and a rather strange best friend. But when Jack's father takes him out rowing on a lake and tells his son that he's gay, nothing will ever be normal again. Out of Jack's struggle to redefine 'family', comes a work of enormous humour, charm and resonance.
In Hello Everybody, A.M. Homes shows that when you’re young, when your world is sheltered and your options for exploration limited, even a visit to a friend’s house becomes an anthropological expedition; each family, an as-yet unknown tribe. In Whose Story is it and Why is it Always on her Mind? Homes explores the nature of therapy and trauma through the generations.
"Voter, Beware", by Jeffrey Toobin; "Nice Work If You Can Get It", by James Surowiecki; "The Gatekeeper", by Ryan Lizza; "Brother on Sunday", by A. M. Homes; "Talk it Up", by Adam Gopnik; and "Whedon's World", by Nancy Franklin