Book Review: 'May We Be Forgiven' by A.M. Holmes

A story about picking up the pieces as featured in the October 2012 issue

by Pam Houston
may we be forgiven book image
Photograph: Avery Powell

Harold Silver is leading a quiet, unhappy life as an irrelevant husband and an untenured professor of Richard Nixon studies. But when his younger, smarter, more successful brother, George, runs a red light and kills two people in a minivan, then escapes from the hospital and delivers a fatal blow with a lamp to his own wife (who happens to be in bed with Harold at the time), Harold steps in and takes over what remains of his brother’s life. He starts wearing George’s clothes, feeding the dog, conferring with the exterminator—and eventually falls entirely and irrevocably in love with George’s two children. What rises from the chaos in May We Be Forgiven (Viking), A.M. Homes’s raucous, good humored and radically hopeful novel, is Harold’s deepening humanity and the hard-won knowledge that living with the mistakes of the past involves opening your arms wider than you imagined to what—and who—might need your attention around the next bend.

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Next: Book Review: 'The End of Your Life Book Club' by Will Schwalbe

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First published in the October 2012 issue.

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