Read Things You Should Know: A Collection of Stories by A.M. Homes Online


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 notIn 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....

Title : Things You Should Know: A Collection of Stories
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780060520137
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Things You Should Know: A Collection of Stories Reviews

  • FrancoSantos
    2019-04-18 16:03

    Pronto, reseña.

  • Allison
    2019-04-03 16:02

    A.M. Homes is so dark that I sometimes can't bear it. But this collection blew me away, especially the long story that fictionalizes Ronald and Nancy Reagan. It is fantastical yet realistic, hilarious and oddly moving. Actually I think that's what I like about A.M. Homes. She leaves me with a pleasant emotional confusion.

  • Anna
    2019-04-10 15:19

    A M Homes excels in writing about the margins of society - the lost, the alone, the confused, the suicidal, the yearning, the indifferent. She does so in such a way that one cannot look away, as if from a car crash. The first person narratives, the closeness to the characters, fosters a feeling of extraordinary intimacy, and yet she is a cool writer, one who delves deep into her characters while maintaining a detached distance.This collection of stories is no different. In The Chinese Lesson a man searches, we think fruitlessly, for his mother in law who is attached to an automatic tracking device. He is lost, she is lost, and the story takes an unexpected turn when he finds her naked and yearning and is forced to put her to bed. Within the story there is a feeling of the great distances between even the closest people, and of the lengths one is willing to go for them.In another story, Georgica, we find a yearning female, this one hell-bent on becoming pregnant by any means necessary. She stalks the young lovers on the little beach she lives by, and after they have finished their coitus she steals their discarded condoms and artificially inseminates herself, naming this one the father, no this one, no this one. 'She is a woman waiting for her life to begin. She waits, counting the days. Her breasts are sore, full, like when they were first budding. She waits, thinking something is going to happen, and then it is not.' She names her expected little girl Georgica.In Remedy an advertising executive is found lost amongst an unnameable angst and searches for the remedy of the title close to home - specifically by flying to her childhood home and searching for sanctuary with her parents. Her parents, however, have other ideas, having taken in a barely-known friend who acts as their chef and handyman, all the while demanding nothing but taking much, most chiefly from their daughter.Rockets Round the Moon is the disturbing yet touching story of two young boys, thrown together for summers on end, and the uncomfortable realisation that life is not made for peaches and cream endings, when one of their fathers hits and kills a young boy by accident. 'It was...the summer of 1979, the summer I was twelve, the summer the world almost stopped spinning around' the protagonist starts by asserting. The attention to period detail is immaculate, the sense of impending doom is brilliantly handled, and end is pure exhilaration for the two boys, riding a fairground ride called Rockets Round the Moon in order to rid themselves of the festering disquietude that threatens to overwhelm them after the accident. Homes has a gift for writing about children and young people, about those who are still grappling with the adult world, still figuring out all its inconsistencies and intricacies, and this story is no exception. In fact, it may be the stand out of the collection.In Please Remain Calm the protagonist starts by telling us 'I wish I were dead.' He has a death wish, something that even a stable marriage and a comfortable life have done nothing to abate. His wife is fully aware of his feelings, and calmly tries to reason with him over his urge to end his life, but it is not until a near-fatal car accident that he changes his mind - 'I want to live, I just don't know how.' Homes handles this story with a black humour and a real sense of her character's inner turmoil. It is almost too close, this feeling we share with the character, almost too real and brutally honest, but this is the strength of Homes' writing.The title story, Things You Should Know, concerns a character who is also yearning, not this time for death or closeness or a child, but for the very way in which to live. His fourth grade the teacher passed out an information sheet entitled 'Things You Should Know' - 'Its not things to know, not things you will learn, but things you already should know but maybe are a little dumb, so you don't.' He spends his entire life looking for this document, thinks he finds part of it hidden in a book - 'Do what you will because you will anyway. If you begin and it is not the beginning, begin again.' In short, this is an excellent collection of stories, carried along by Homes' perfect prose and blistering take on modern life.

  • Megan Jones
    2019-04-06 18:13

    Another stunningly twisted collection of short stories by A.M. Homes. The only reason for rating it four instead of five stars is because Safety of Objects is still my favorite. But this collection doesn't fail to disappoint. In typical Homes style, she mixes the typical suburban family life with dark, frightful twists and turns that one can only imagine in their nightmares...or their hidden reality. Another added bonus - a few of these stories take place in my hometown of the Hamptons, and Homes nails the "Hamptons" experience perfectly telling me she must have spent some considerable time there...maybe one of these days I'll run into one of my favorites authors in my hometown...

  • Malcolm
    2019-04-09 16:12

    There are only a few writers who do broken people quite as well as Homes – although both Barbara Gowdy and Jayne Anne Phillips come close. Many of Homes’s characters are slightly off kilter, alienated, uncertain of their place in the world either by virtue of age or by changed circumstance, in many cases they feel stuck, trapped or lost but unable to work out what to do. This is what provides the thematic core of this excellent collection of stories, many of which teeter on the brink of the grotesque and as a consequence are both poignant/tragic and funny at once (although not in a laugh out loud kind of funny, but a kind of tristesse – perhaps in this case best understood as a kind of melancholic comedy/absurdity). One of Homes’s great strengths is her ability to write children and adolescents (this is the better parallel with Phillips) in a way that blends naivety with worldliness, liminality and out-of-placeness with plans and desires (these complex children appear throughout her fiction), providing the core of 4 of the stories in this collection. The other recurring motif in her fiction – most obviously in Music for Torching – is domestic dystopia, central to several other pieces in this collection. In both these motifs there is a powerful sense of people trying to be somewhere or something else – the character who wants to die, so he says, but in the end wants to live but doesn’t know how; the woman who pursues a unique path to conception, inspired by her grandmother who “would never have gotten married if [she] could have gotten out of it”, or the character in the (very brief) gorgeous title story who is sure of having missed the day in 4th grade when the teacher gave out the list of ‘things you should know’ and whose life is therefore incomplete. There are two stories that don’t quite fit this framework – but fit the book; ‘The Whiz Kids’ – less dystopian than downright bleakly malignant, and ‘The Weather Outside is Sunny and Bright’ about a shape-shifting forensic architect. In a strange way, these two-that-don’t-quite-fit remind us of the richness of Homes’s oeuvre, and shake us as readers (or perhaps me as a reader) out of the view that she is an author of slightly discombobulated families. But perhaps the most potent stories are ot the ones of not-quite-fitting but of all to believable tragedy – the 12 year old boys whose summer is disrupted by death, not of someone they know, but by someone they know, and the closing story, ‘The Former First Lady and the Football Hero’ – a not even disguised tale of Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s, which includes perhaps the exchange of the collection; he asks if he had an affair, she replies, ‘Iran Contra?’.As with so much of the rest of Homes’s work (including her work on The L Word), this collection is gorgeous, poignant and a reminder that she is not just, as Zadie Smith once described her ‘a writer’s writer’, but one of the great contemporary authors who deserves to be much more widely read. These are what the short story should be, powerful, sharply insightful and more than just a little disturbing!

  • Sheri LaVigne
    2019-04-26 23:21

    I am in love with A.M. Homes. I ended up savoring these stories as long as I could, but like any good addiction I devoured them. This is the kind of writing I'm envious of people to have the first experience of.

  • Livian Grey
    2019-04-04 21:19

    Perhaps the last inclusion in this anthology I would rate above all the others. The subject would've been boring had it not been from the point of view of a powerful person of note. Be prepared to find sympathy for someone you may not have agreed with. I love anthologies with related stories mixed in with single pieces. I can see why readers consider Homes a one-note character writer, but she's always laced this tone with more than adequate tension. Her unapologetic style is something I admire.

  • Corey Burton
    2019-04-07 22:10

    This collection was pretty okay. Although I'd have to say that the story recommended to me that brought me to this book was nowhere near as interesting as ones I liked the most. Maybe about 70% of the book I really liked and the rest was just okay, with one being confusing. While I did like the way some left the reader hanging in thought, it didn't quite work for a few, like the last one, The Former First Lady and the Football Hero[with what liberties it took]. Overall I liked the first half of the book more than the rest.

  • Eleanor Schroeder
    2019-04-03 19:00

    Interesting mix of stories of, well, life. Some were so incredibly "normal" you forgot you were reading a collection of short stories. A couple bordered on the bizarre, but elements of regular day-to-day living shone through. For me, the most poignant was the last story, mostly due to my mother suffering from vascular dementia the last six or so years of her life. While it was a fictional representation of the Reagans' life, it was a realistic depiction of the situation.

  • Danice
    2019-04-14 18:56

    A well-written collection of stories from a modern American author of novels and short stories. Memorable, deeply touching and provocative--this collection is an emotional journey, reflective, hypnotic and unpredictable.

  • Niels Broerse
    2019-04-10 17:18

    Verhalenbundels vindt ik niets. Na het 2e verhaal niet meer verder gelezen.

  • Núria
    2019-04-13 17:03

    Reconozco que probablemente leer los cuentos de A.M. Homes después de haber leído los de Amy Hempel es un poco injusto, porque las comparaciones pueden ser odiosas y crueles. Aún así, cuando en una colección de cuentos no hay ninguno que me produzca auténtica envidia ni ninguno que hubiera deseado poder escribir yo, es que algo va mal. Confieso que ya antes había intentado leer ‘Cosas que debes saber’ pero había fracasado, aunque ahora veo que (en parte) mi problema era que empecé por el cuento más desagradable pero con el título más atrayente para mí (el de los presuntos niños prodigio). Me ha desagradado tanto o incluso más que la primera vez. La verdad, no me apetece para nada leer un cuento cuyo clímax sucede cuando un gilipollas abusa de una chica y se le mea encima. Éste es mi mayor problema con A.M. Homes que a veces parece que quiere ser desagradable sólo para ser desagradable, de forma totalmente gratuita, o como mucho para de pasada resultar polémica, que es algo que siempre queda muy guay, pero en el fondo yo no veo nada detrás. Otro cuento también bastante desagradable es el de la mujer que se insemina ella solita con el semen que recoge de los preservativos tirados por otras parejas. En fin, se supone que la pobre mujer tuvo un accidente muy grave y que tenemos que compadecernos por ella y todo el rollo, pero la verdad es que toda la historia me parece chapucera, gratuita y manipuladora. Luego hay un par de cuentos con una shapeshifter, que creo que pretenden ser poéticos y tal, pero que a mí me han parecido ridículos y tediosos. Después, hay unos cuantos relatos que no están mal, pero que son bastante olvidables. A veces me da la sensación que para que un editor te publique un libro de relatos tiene que haber uno sobre el cáncer y otro sobre parejas que se rompen. Aquí A.M. Homes ha unido los dos tópicos en un solo cuento y el resultado no está mal, pero ya se ha hecho antes millones de veces y no creo que aporte nada nuevo. También está el tópico del hombre que quiere morir hasta que tiene una experiencia en que la está a punto de palmar y luego se da cuenta que quiere vivir. También con una serie de imágenes desagradables de lo más gratuitas y todo él demasiado previsible. Hasta aquí ha habido tres párrafos de cosas que no me han gustado, ahora viene uno de cosas que sí que me han gustado. Como veis no son muchas pero espero que notéis la delicadeza de ponerlas al final para que sea con lo que os quedéis. Os juro que yo no quiero ser cruel de forma gratuita. Vamos allá. Me gusta el cuento sobre el niño que va a pasar las vacaciones en casa de su padre divorciado, pero que en realidad se pasa más tiempo en casa de los vecinos que son una familia normal y por eso los adora, porque está cansado de las pijerías de su madre y lo alternativo que es su padre, tiene un punto de nostalgia y de final de infancia que está realmente conseguido. El del presidente Reagan jubilado y aquejado de alzheimer es original, divertido y con un punto amargo, realmente bueno y la verdad es que me encantan todos los relatos que ficcionalizan vidas de políticos (estoy pensando básicamente en el ‘Lyndon’ de David Foster Wallace). También me ha gustado mucho ‘Remedios’, que es muy Carver, muy “en apariencia cuenta algo banal pero dice mucho”. Y el mejor creo que es el que da título al libro; es evocador, breve, simple e inteligente. Resumiendo, de 11 cuentos, cuatro me han gustado (pero sin llegar a entusiasmarme), tres no me han hecho ni fu ni fa, y los restantes los he odiado. Demasiado poco para poder decir que el libro me ha gustado. Aún así, me alegro de haberlo leído/terminado, haberme fabricado mi propia opinión y poder pasar a otra cosa.

  • Duncan
    2019-03-26 15:01

    I have to confess that short stories don’t always agree with me. Too often they seem to be an exercise in experimentation, which doesn’t appeal. However, once in a blue moon I find something really good, so I keep plugging away.According to a literary agent I used to share a building with, the British are philistines, which is why our publishers rarely touch short story collections. There isn’t any money in them because us Britons don’t appreciate them. But then again the man spent most of his time wandering around the corridors in his slippers, farting loudly - hardly an arbiter of good taste.Things You Should Know is likely to contain some tales that really grab some people, and others that don’t. Yes, that’s a cop out, but it was certainly the case for me. It opened and closed with two excellent stories - the latter being an imagining of Nancy Reagan caring for a Ronald ravaged by Alzheimer’s - but few in between inspired any great feelings in me. For those that like short stories, however, there is much to admire.A.M. Homes is clearly a very capable writer. Her speciality in this collection is America, broken. Whether it’s the breakup of relationships, the fear of outsiders, or the descent into old age, Homes takes an ordinary middle class American scene and subverts it, inserting a slight feeling of doubt or menace until something quite removed from the ordinary begins to materialise. When it works, the effect is deeply unsettling. The opening story, 'The Chinese Lesson', for example, could well be the simple tale of a Chinese mother-in-law slowly losing her faculties and wishing she was back in China. That is, until you realise her family have inserted a chip into her neck to keep track of her, and her daughter seems completely paranoid of everything around her.Other stories continue the theme, using the characters’ anxieties against them. In 'Remedy', a woman returns home to escape her failing relationship and finds a stranger living with her elderly parents. They seem to prefer him to her, though his intentions toward them are not clear. 'Do Not Disturb' sees a monstrous wife contract cancer just as her husband plucks up the courage to leave her. Rather than this being the catalyst to repair their relationship, she becomes even more horrific. Just as he finally decides to go, his back gives out and she finds him stricken on the floor, money and passport in his pockets.The stories were certainly interesting, the odd dud excluded (somebody please interpret 'The Weather Outside is Sunny and Bright' for me). What this collection has done for me, if nothing else, is encourage me to read one of A.M. Homes’s novels to see the full effect of her dark imagination in a medium I appreciate more.

  • Miguel Jiménez
    2019-04-20 18:20

    Los relatos de A.M. Homes son especiales, no se parecen en nada a cualquier otra cosa, siquiera a ellos mismos: cada uno es diferente. Pero no va tanto por ver qué tan impresionante es el argumento del próximo cuento(aunque también lo tiene) sino lo suyo es el desarrollo, lo que hace es Escritura Creativa de Tratamiento. Parece que cada frase fue construida de forma sensata, pensando en cuál era la palabra exacta para producir la sensación deseada y/o comunicar alguna situación. Esto, con unos personajes que tienen la intención de hacer algo, lo que sea, pero que no siempre tienen la capacidad o no siempre son ellos los adecuados para realizarlo.Estos relatos, todos, tienen una calidad increíble —unos en mayor medida que otros. Pero incluso el peor cuento es bueno, aceptable. Y no infumable como los de muchos escritores—. Mi reacción por saber cómo construía estas historias no era de intriga, de la curiosidad que imprimiría un Donald Barthelme, más bien era de admiración. Dicho sea de paso, para un escritor producir un relato bueno no es nada fácil. Ahora, hacer muchos relatos buenos, menos. De este tipo de escritores, solo me viene a la mente Etgar Keret. Pese a todo, A.M.Homes tiene la capacidad de mostrar la bondad, habla de como ser más considerados y conscientes con lo que, afortudanamente, somos y tenemos. Claro que esto no es tan aparente como lo muestra George Saunders ni tampoco lo dicta en plan "¡Esto se debe hacer así. Y ya!". Solo muestra la situación y cada quien lo ve como cree.Difícil mencionar las historias que más me gustaron, seré molesto de nuevo, todas son buenas. En fin, para destacar: "La ex primera dama y el héroe del fútbol americano", "El remedio" y "Afuera el tiempo es brillante y soleado". Me gustaron mucho, por orden: "Cohetes alrededor de la luna", "Georgica", "No molesten" y "En una colchoneta, flotando en el agua".En conclusión, A.M.Homes es una escritora por demás interesante, con manejo del lenguaje y los tiempos, personajes curiosos que no están para agradar pero a veces llegan a hacerlo. Sus historias —con una importancia destacable— deben ser leídas sí o sí.

  • Caitlin Constantine
    2019-04-23 20:18

    Everything I've read of AM Homes's writing has been - at least to me - all about finding the humanity in those we see as broken. This collection isn't any different. There is a part of her that seems to delight in grossing her reader out, to which anyone who read "The End of Alice" can attest. She only ventures into that kind of super-explicit writing twice, and only one of those times did I think it could be considered gratuitous. It's difficult to summarize an entire collection of short stories, not least of all because they have a tendency to be uneven. I think this is true for this collection. I really liked about half of them, the rest I didn't really care about. In fact, I pretty much forgot them as soon as I turned the page. My favorites were ones I had read before. One is about a woman who, in the aftermath of a horrific accident and a cancelled engagement, finds herself going to great lengths to have a baby. The other takes place through the perspective of Nancy Reagan, as she cares for her husband as his Alzheimer's gets progressively worse. I think the reason those were published elsewhere is because they had some emotional texture that was missing from some of the other ones. She wrote about these women who are superficially unsympathetic but then made you actually care about them.There were a couple of other ones I adored: the couple who was in a constant station of disaster preparation, the young son of divorce who watched the ideal family next door disintegrate one summer and the husband who found himself caring for his cancer-ridden doctor wife despite the fact that he didn't actually love her any more. They were worth wading through the not-so-great ones.Of course, Homes' stuff is always worth reading if only because she's such a beautiful writer. But she's really not for the squeamish, although this might be one of her tamer works.

  • Oryx
    2019-04-03 19:03

    3.756 - my least favourite of her works so far and certainly not her finest first collection.Still great, though.

  • Jim Breslin
    2019-04-12 19:14

    An interesting collection of short stories from AM Homes, though I enjoyed her earlier collection, The Safety of Objects, a little bit more. Georgica is a beautifully strange tale of a woman who continually tries to inseminate herself in a most unconventional way. While what occurs in the story is truly bizarre, Homes writes this story in a way that transports the reader to a different dimension. My favorite story was The Former First Lady and the Football Hero. This story is Homes imagining of what life must have been like for President Reagan and wife Nancy during his later years dealing with Alzheimer's. The story is both humorous and heartbreaking as we follow Nancy Reagan dealing with the Secret Service and going online to network anonymously with other people dealing with dementia, and occasionally flirting with a man on an online site. Anyone who has dealt with these issues in their family will relate. I had actually read her short story, Do Not Disturb, last summer when it was listed by One Story as one of the best short stories ever. From the opening lines, this brutal story about a loveless marriage is filled with palpable tension. The story moves quickly, jumping from one fraught scene to another. A.M. Home adds in moments of humor to keep the story moving and to balance the horribleness of it all. The husband tries one last ditch effort to find tenderness by taking his sick wife to Paris. Once there, he realizes there is no chance to save their marriage. I won’t spoil the ending here.If you are a fan of short stories, this collection is worth reading.

  • Joy
    2019-04-13 22:56

    Things You Should Know is a short story collection by A. M. Homes, who is frequently described as a “daring, young American writer.” The stories contained here are frequently melancholic, sometimes heart-wrenching and always absorbing.What immediately struck me, as I began to read Things You Should Know, was Homes’ unique voice. It wasn’t a particularly unusual voice, however its easy manner reassured me of a writer with real talent. Many stories have been written where the tone feels as difficult as the subject matter, but Homes manages to write in such a way that you are fully convinced of the story she is telling.There is so much sadness in this collection – a woman struggling to get pregnant, a child who thinks he’s missed out on knowing important life information, and a president slipping into the grip of Alzheimer’s. These aren’t angst-ridden stories though because, whilst their themes are emotive and Homes clearly contains this in her dialogue, they’re written in a way that draws the reader in. We’re not just observing the scenes. Instead we are captivated by what is happening in seemingly ordinary people’s lives, living it out with them, and thinking, “this could be me.”Until recently short stories and I had a bit of a struggle between me wanting to read them because I want to write more of them, and yet not finding stories that satisfied me. I love stories that have a clear beginning, middle and end, a narrative arc, and stories that don’t leave you thinking that there was no real intent in them. Lately, I have come across some real gems and Things You Should Know is one of them

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-04 19:00

    At some points this excellent collection teeters unevenly, but when Homes is good she's amazing, and the best of these stories makes the price of admission worth it. If you've not read her work, Homes is known for her terse and funny prose and her satirical bent (her most famous story, "A Real Doll," from the collection The Safety of Objects, is about a teenaged boy who date-rapes a Barbie doll). Her adults invariably behave and speak like children, and in this flattened out and almost cartoonish moral landscape, Homes is free to explore the naked desires and confusions of the contemporary setting. This particular collection has upped the stakes from Homes' previous work; the author seems to have turned her gaze towards questions of identity in a world of landslides (figurative and literal). Whether we peer through a shapeshifting coyote's eyes at a Californian teenager dieting herself to oblivion, or follow Nancy Reagan on the tightrope between anonymity and celebrity while dealing with her husband's illness, Homes explores the liminal spaces of selfhood. I'm a style junkie, and Homes' deliberate spareness gives me little to revel in from a prose standpoint. That said, in the stripped-down texture of her writing, other elements of her work shine: mind and eye are more important than tongue here. At their best, these stories are hilarious, heartbreaking, and amazingly clever.

  • Snotchocheez
    2019-03-29 19:57

    2.5 starsMy first encounter with Ms. Homes writing was a decidedly ambivalent affair. I like her writing style, which tends toward the dark end of life- observation. There's just something about this collection of short stories that just left me, I dunno, insensate? I got the impression that Ms. Homes' effort (much like Jenny Offill's chilly Dept. Of Observation) was an exercise in catharsis after suffering through a bad relationship. The eleven stories (seemingly most of them about marital dissatisfaction) were mostly good, read individually, but after the fifth or sixth one they started sounding whiny and one-note. There were a few standouts, among them "Rockets Round The Moon" (a melancholy story about emotionally unavailable parenting, as related though the eyes of a 12 year-old boy) and the last story, "The Former First Lady and the Football Hero" (an imagining of the relationship between Nancy and Ronald Reagan in the Alzheimer's years). There were a couple really bad Huh???-eliciting clunkers, too, notably the titular "Things You Should Know" and the sophomoric "The Whiz Kids" (seemingly inserted solely to provide "shock-value"). I'm confident I'm going to find something of Ms. Homes' works that will totally be up my alley (like, perhaps, one of her novels), but this brood-fest just, more often than not, grated on my nerves.

  • Jill
    2019-04-21 21:02

    Short stories are notoriously hit or miss -- and, I think, notoriously dependent on the reader. Novels, too, but the format of a short story is necessarily a sketch -- we fill in the gaps ourselves. So, grains of salt and all that, but: this collection was mostly miss, for me -- or at least, it wasn't a hit.I love A.M. Homes -- I think she's a master of style and social commentary (particularly of the suburban sort). However, some authors do best with certain forms -- and man, Homes' novels are far more successful than her short stories. It's not that the stories are bad; they're not. But you know that feeling you get when you read a really amazing short story? One that punches you in the gut and pulls open your eyes a la Clockwork Orange? Not even close to that feeling, here -- more of a low intelligent buzz, nothing powerful. A quick read, without much depth.That said -- some lovely dark moments, and hints of the style Homes knocks out of the park in her longer works. Thematically, this is a book with some interesting comments about relationships between parents and children; about aging; about getting older and what we learn -- or don't learn -- in the process. But if you're looking for a reflective introduction to her work -- trust me, this isn't it.

  • Laura Besley
    2019-03-28 14:58

    I picked this book up off my bookshelf by mistake (I thought it was if nobody speaks of remarkable things by jon mcgregor) and my friend who had left it in my house by accident said "it was okay." I therefore had very low expectations. However, I really enjoyed it. This collection of eleven short stories is extremely varied; in length, subject matter, style and genre. I didn't read them in order, but that's one of the joys of a collection of short stories. The story THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW, about a so-called mysterious and magical list, is only three pages long, but one of my favourites. Another favourite is ROCKETS AROUND THE MOON which is about a boy who stays with his father in the summers but actually spends more time with the family next door. He is equally devastated when disaster strikes for the family. THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS SUNNY AND BRIGHT reminded me a little of Black Swan, the 2010 Oscar winning film starring Natalie Portman. If you enjoy reading short stories, some a little on the bizarre side, some more about the mundanities of life, you should try this collection.

  • Kendall
    2019-04-19 16:54

    I read another collection of her short stories call The Safety of Objects.' I read this book based on my experience with that one and based on a blurb at For me- this book is a mixed bag. All her stories kind have that feel you get when you see something horrible- like some gross injury on one of those emergency room programs- and you want to look away- but you just can't. Even though it's making the blood rush from your head and causing your heart to palpitate- you keep looking. She's a good writer- no doubt- and a good story teller. Like I said- this collection was a mixed bag. One or two stories I simply didn't like and didn't try to understand. I didn't see the point of them ever seeing the light of day. Maybe that was the point. Some- like I said- were disturbing- but I just had to look- I had to see what was going to happen. They all stimulated brain activity for me. One was even laugh out loud funny (and at the same time sad). It was about Nancy and Ronald Reagan and the way they deal with his Alzheimer's. Good stuff. Homes has a very powerful and distinct voice.

  • Spike
    2019-03-29 20:14

    There are only a few good stories in here, which serve as bookends for this largely uneven collection. The best of the lot are "Remedy", "The Former First Lady and the Football Hero" (which appeared in Zoetrope), and my favorite, "Rockets Around the Moon". "Rockets" is an insightful look into the world of children who are effectively abandoned by selfish parents. In this tale, the protagonist is swept up into a neighboring families tragedy even as he desperately allows them a place as his surrogate family. "The Former First Lady" is interesting, although it carries an undercurrent of anti-Republican snarkiness I found distracting. The other tales have a common theme of women who are mostly unbelievably cold towards their male partners, or are shockingly sexual--nearly pornographic such as "Whiz Kids"--in nature. Sexual scenes must earn their keep, particularly in a short story, and in this collection they simply don't. It's as if Homes simply wanted to shock us, or distract us so that we don't notice the story is simply not very good.But the typical reader of collections such as this is more discerning than that.

  • Pedro
    2019-04-04 17:20

    Me enamoré profundamente de A. M. Homes cuando leí su relato “Una Barbie de carne y hueso”. Decía de él Foster Wallace que era de sus relatos preferidos. Todos los años se lo leía a sus alumnos. No le faltaba razón. “Todo lo que has de saber” es un libro de relatos impregnado de forma innegable por el sello Homes. Esto quiere decir que es irrelevante lo que cuenta, ni siquiera es importante cómo lo cuenta. El antiguo y tedioso debate de la forma y el contenido quedan superados en la literatura de Homes. El mayor de valor de lo que escribe está en la relación sadista que establece con sus personajes. Los crea solo para hacerlos sufrir. Para profundizar en ellos; no en el punto de vista de su psicología, como pensaría un lector de los rusos del s. XIX, sino para llevarlos al límite, para convertirlos en pequeñas ratas de laboratorio a los que infringir una y mil tropelías, para constatar cuando estalla toda la miseria del ser humano.

  • Diana Passy
    2019-04-23 23:08

    Há um pouco mais de 1 ano dei a sorte de estar em Nova York na época do Brooklyn Book Festival, e fui ver uma mesa com a Nicole Krauss. Eu não lembro mais de nada do que foi dito (e ainda não li o livro da Krauss), mas durante esse tempo todo ficou na minha cabeça o pedaço de um conto que outra escritora leu no começo, uma cena em que o marido estava catando penas que tinham começado a nascer nas costas da mulher. Fiz uma anotação mental de "preciso ler esse livro algum dia", pensei em comprá-lo algumas vezes, mas só agora fui ler. O livro é irregular, como toda coletânea, mas o mundo que ela cria é tão bonito que vale a pena. Meu conto favorito foi o que ela leu naquele dia mesmo. E, por sorte, vi que dá pra ler ele inteiro no site dela:

  • David Sheward
    2019-04-20 20:21

    Sharp collection of short stories focusing on people in unbearable situations or relationships. The one that stuck with me is "Do Not Disturb" about a doctor dying of cancer and her husband who was obsessed with death before her diagnosis. Neither fits the usual profile of "noble patient" or "loving spouse." The sick wife is furious because she can't control her own illness as she can those of her patients and the husband can't connect with her. They take an impulsive trip to Paris and the story ends with bizarrely funny encounter in their hotel room. Nothing has changed, she is still dying and bitchy, he is still pathetic. They can't stay together and they can't leave each other. I also liked "Rockets Round the Moon" about two 12-year-old boys whose summer is smashed to bits by a tragic accident.

  • Holyfool
    2019-04-19 22:15

    uncertain and raw short stories noir. a beginning with no end and an end with no need to qualify homes in her own category. in one minute she could easily disappoint you and the next minute you could find yourself admiring her contradicted writing.her short stories take you from one extreme to another. so uncontrived and pure unveiled that makes you stop, think and try to react about what you just must have an open mind while reading this book, not so much about the way the tales are presented but more how the subject are unlimited and thing is for sure after reading this book, i see myself being a bit more, what the general public call, "normal".

  • Josie
    2019-04-17 19:14

    I was not terribly impressed with these stories. Although most were raw with emotion and brutally honest - which I can appreciate - the same theme permeated the entire volume (save for one story, which happened to be the best in my opinion). There are only so many times an author can explore suburban dissatisfaction, malcontentment, and general detachment from life before it becomes tedious drivel. Save for the title story, "Things You Should Know" which is a 2 1/2 page brilliant little piece, all the stories and characters seemed to meld into one, the endings delivered no surprise or punch, and the stories were boring and predicable.

  • Suzanne Northcott
    2019-04-26 15:08

    fantastic, best collection of stories I've read for ages. I love short stories and there are some beauties here -- Georgica in particular. I can't describe without giving away a bizarre but fabulous and possibly believable way to solve the longing for a child and the not-longing for a partner. and Remedy, that gets to the frustration of watching parents become suspicious of advice from children, or others they have known all their lives, yet place trust in complete strangers, refusing to see that there might be an agenda ... like the real estate agent who sold a shoddy apartment to my mother in law for a grossly inflated price. grrr