There is some f&cked up sh&t going on in this novel.
And if that description offends you, A.M. Homes' May We Be Forgiven is NOT the book for you.
While attracted to the book cover, it was not until it was part of the 2013 Tournament of Books competition that I fully committed to reading it. I am glad I did, although I had a hard time at first wondering how this was "a darkly comic novel," a chain of horrifically tragic events set this novel into motion, and in the most unexpected ways. At times the events and circumstances seem truly absurd, but again I am often reminded of the adage of "truth is stranger than fiction" and that these things could happen, though I defy anyone to have the year Homes conjures up for protagonist Harold Silver.
I never knew where this novel was going. It almost seems as if Homes is playing a game of self one-upsmanship. What could be more crazy than the last crazy thing that happened? Or just when you think perhaps something was a tad too crude, it gets cruder.
[Sidenote: I will plead guilty the sexist card, but I was impressed Homes -- a woman! -- could be so crude, this novel definitely had the "feel" of being written by a middle-aged man]
Likewise, there are few tonal shifts in the novel. As hinted above,
it's not at all funny in the beginning, does evolve into that, but with
an ending that is something totally different, almost
jolting/out-of-place (even a bit of a betrayal) given everything leading
up to it.
It's random, with Homes not playing by any "rules" of fiction, with things turning on the proverbial dime, with characters not always acting consistently -- but alas this is a good description of "real" life and people, even in a quite amplified version here.
Bold, unpredictable, entertaining, train/car-wreck fascinating, real, unbelievable, setting the bar for "putting the fun in dysfunctional" -- it was a roller-coaster ride that I was happy to be on.