A collection of short stories by a writer I know nothing about. I picked this off the shelf in the bookshop in Siam Paragon on the strength of the title alone (and its size – I was looking for beach reading). It made for strange beach reading, but that’s not to say unenjoyable.
All of these stories are set in non-specific suburban America, and I think deliberately made to read as if the location is unimportant or interchangeable. There is an anonymity, and flatness to these places. The people too are strangely featureless, except for their demons, neuroses, traumas, fixations, perversions, addictions… it’s not a happy bunch of folk. Often darkly funny. A damning portrait of the ‘American dream’. I particularly enjoyed the final story in the series ‘A Real Doll’ about a young boy playing covetously with his sister’s (despised and abused) Barbie. Imaginative and perverse. I would like to read more A.M. Homes, perhaps starting with the reassuringly titled “This Book Will Save Your Life”.