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.
©1999 A. M. Homes (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd
"Brilliant... I found myself rapt from beginning to end" (New York Times)
"Homes describes nice people doing not-so-nice deeds in luminous, precise prose" (Tim Appelo)
A M Holmes wrote May We be Forgiven which is one of my favourite books. I also liked This Book Will Save Your Life. And for much of Music for Torching, I enjoyed the trade-mark bone-dry, black and bleak humour.
It is an increasingly bizarre and fantastic, nightmarish story. The writing is pitilessly forensic in its dissection of a marriage, of the 'dream' of American middle-class suburban life - and even family life. It does have moments of 'humour' which I enjoyed. But you also feel that you are watching a car-crash in which the driver and all the passengers actively want the crash to play out.
The characters are vivid and even though I didn't believe in many of them - and detested the main characters - some of the small-part acts are just brilliant - the slightly-drunk neighbour, the bi-sexual housewife - and the children.
But the ending (which I will not reveal) was in my view lazy and just lobbed in for the sake of shock value. It is disconnected from the the rest of the book entirely and I hated it - not just because it was so awful, but because I went on this journey with Holmes, paid for the credit, and then got a 'cut and paste' horror end that in no way reflects the rest of the book - and that's saying something given how weird the rest of the book is. But at least it was consistent - the end was cheap.
The narration was very good, and that is why I have given this download 3 stars overall, instead of the 2 that the story merits.
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