Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday Story Hour: A.M. Homes

It's Saturday, the day of the week that we celebrate the art of the short story. We call it Saturday Story Hour.

Fosco is immoderately fond of American author A.M. Homes. She writes both novels and stories (and quite a bit of nonfiction). Her novels can be uneven, but her short fiction is excellent. She is willing to explore some of the darker areas of desire and is particularly good at evoking a skewed eroticism--an eroticism that speaks very directly to Fosco. (If you're interested in that part of her work, get a hold of her story "The Whiz Kids.") Her work occasionally makes it into anthologies of queer stories, but her interests are much broader.

She's always been interested in heterosexual marriage, but in recent years, her work has focused more on the ways in which loss and trauma intrude into that relationship. Fosco's favorite Homes story is the O. Henry award-winning "Do Not Disturb." That story is available in Homes's collection Things You Should Know, The O. Henry Prize Stories 2002, or McSweeney's 7. The story is about a doctor who finds that she has cancer and her cold antagonism toward her husband and friends.

For your Valentine's Day treat, Fosco has another Homes story about marriage and trauma: "May We Be Forgiven" (2007). There's more than marriage here, though--there's also adultery, sibling rivalry, and horrific violence. It's nastier than many of Homes's earlier stories; it's also sad and perceptive about the ways in which horrible things become everyday--the power that suburbia has to assimilate trauma. If there's a weakness in this story, it's probably the final bit of dialogue. I'll be interested to see what you think...

Read it, leave a comment, hug a loved one.


Jill said...

I am sooo glad I'm an only child!

Lisa said...

I was confused by the end of this story - Did the newspaper clippings belong to the narrator of the story or to George? The answer to this changes the entire context.