May We Be Forgiven

Viking  2012


This novel about an extremely dysfunctional family is tragic, yet laugh-out-loud funny. It is narrated by Harold, a mild mannered underachieving college professor who hasn't yet been published and is totally obsessed with his subject, former President Richard Nixon. Harold's younger brother George is rich, successful, and a violent bully. When George kills a couple in a car accident, Harold is called upon to step in, but George’s crazy temper causes his family to spiral totally out of control. The story begins and ends with Thanksgiving, spanning one full year.

The reader is drawn into this tale from the very first page. Even as the scenes become more disturbing and unbelievable, they are always compelling. The story touches on organ donation, internet sex, adultery, mental institutions, foster care, child rearing, and old age, taking us from upscale suburban New York to colonial Williamsburg and South Africa.The female author portrays Harold as a regular flawed man so incredibly realistically. Homes’s irreverent style is reminiscent of Jonathan Tropper's irreverent style in This is Where I Leave You, in which the serious topic of sitting shiva was treated accurately yet with humor. As Homes's story progresses, Harold becomes the head of an unusual multi-generation blended family. He generously and sensitively helps each unique character deal with difficult obstacles, while slowly healing himself through this process.

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