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The Safety of Objects: Stories Paperback – January 29, 2013
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Praise for The Safety of Objects:
“Enthralling . . . full of subversive humor and truth . . . original and stiletto sharp.” —The Washington Post
“Wonderfully skewed stories . . . sharp, funny, and playful . . . Homes is confident and consistent in her odd departures from life as we know it, sustaining credibility by getting details right. A fully engaged imagination [is] at work—and play.” —Amy Hempel, The Los Angeles Times
“Alarmingly good . . . It is hard to say exactly who Homes’s predecessors are—Roald Dahl, Rachel Ingalls, and J.D. Salinger all come to mind—but in many ways she is not unlike Cheever.” —The Village Voice
“A.M. Homes’ provocative and funny and sometimes very sad takes on contemporary suburban life impressed me enormously. The more bizarre things get, the more impressed one is by A.M. Homes’ skills as a realist, a portraitist of contemporary life at its more perverse.” —David Leavitt
“These stories are remarkable. They are awesomely well-written. In the sense of arousing fear and wonder in the reader they entertain, but what they principally bring us is a sense of recognition . . . Here are all the things that even today, even in our frank outspoken times, we don’t talk about. We think of them punishingly in sleepless nights.” —Ruth Rendell
“An unnerving glimpse through the windows of other people’s lives. A.M. Homes is a provocative and eloquent writer, and her vision of the way we live now is anything but safe.” —Meg Wolitzer
“Set in a world filled with edges to topple from, [The Safety of Objects] is permeated by the bizarre. . . . The unexpected emerges from the story itself, startling and unexpectedly right.” —The Cleveland Plain Dealer
About the Author
A.M. Homes was born in Washington D.C. graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Iowa, lives in New York City and teaches at Princeton University. Her work appears in ArtForum, Granta, The Guardian, McSweeney’s, Modern Painters, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Electric Literature, Playboy, and Zoetrope. She works in television, most recently as as Co-Executive Producer of Falling Water and Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes, and is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair. She is the recipient of awards including the Guggenheim, NEA, and NYFA fellowships. Her most recent novel, May We Be Forgiven, won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, 2013, and has been optioned for film by Unanimous Entertainment.
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When you think of "suburbia," you think of somewhere that is safe, quiet, boring and normal. These stories take place in a neighborhood that could very well resemble somewhere where YOU live. The truth is that this "normal" neighborhood is contaminated with bizarre behavior and unbelievable stories. There's the couple who decide to do drugs when their kids are away from home. There's the kid who was abducted by a kidnapper, only to end up being a big disappointment to the abductor. There's the mother with the son that is in a coma after a car accident, and she doesn't know what should be done. And let's not forget about the little boy who has an extreme obsession with his sister's Barbie doll. These are only some of the stories you will uncover in this unrelenting and unapologetic read.
Homes has a great way of getting straight to the point without using any extra or unnecessary words. Her writing reminds me a little of Raymond Carver, only more twisted and graphic. She's able to create some very interesting and creepy characters without having to give you their complete life story. While there are some stories that I like more than others, I found myself enjoying the entire book. Just when I thought I had read some pretty twisted and disturbing stuff, I started to realize that I hadn't seen nothing yet after I started reading this book.
I cannot stress this enough; this is NOT recommended for those who are extremely sensitive and get offended easily. These stories are dark, graphic and unforgiving. Some stories aren't as extreme as others while there are some that'll make you feel downright guilty for reading. I had a hard time reading some of these stories, but A.M. Homes' craft is done so well that you can't help but continue reading. People who like Chuck Palahniuk are bound to get a kick out of these stories. My favorite stories in this collection are "Looking for Johnny," "Jim Train," "The Bullet Catcher," "Esther in the Night," and everyone's favorite cult classic, "A Real Doll," which is the funniest and most deranged story in the entire collection.
"The Safety of Objects" is a humorous and chilling read that you will have a hard time forgetting. It's great to see something that is supposed to be viewed as innocent such as "suburbia," and see it transformed into something much more sinister and terrifying. If you're a fan of the short story and aren't afraid to venture into some of the darkest and tragic corners of fiction, then this is something you should consider picking up. I will never forget these stories. They are forever imprinted into my brain. -Michael Crane