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Things You Should Know: A Collection of Stories

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  1,199 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
The most daring voice of her generation, A. M. Homes writes with terrifying compassion about the things that matter most. Homes's distinctive narratives illuminate our dreams and desires, our memories and losses, and our profound need for connection, and demonstrate how extraordinary the ordinary can be. In "Chinese Lesson," we meet Geordie, a man watching over his wanderi ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 3rd 2002 by Harper (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Franco  Santos
Mar 04, 2016 Franco Santos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pronto, reseña.
Allison
Dec 26, 2008 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 14, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan Jones
May 22, 2013 Megan Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Home ...more
Malcolm
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 grot ...more
Sheri LaVigne
Aug 10, 2009 Sheri LaVigne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Núria
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 ...more
Duncan
Jun 22, 2014 Duncan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 t
...more
Miguel Jiménez
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 p ...more
Caitlin Constantine
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 storie
...more
Oryx
Feb 18, 2017 Oryx rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.756 - my least favourite of her works so far and certainly not her finest first collection.

Still great, though.
Jim Breslin
Nov 22, 2012 Jim Breslin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Joy
Oct 02, 2015 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 difficu
...more
Jennifer
Nov 11, 2007 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 cartoonis ...more
Snotchocheez

2.5 stars

My 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 diss
...more
Jill
Nov 29, 2015 Jill rated it liked it
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
...more
Laura Besley
Nov 06, 2013 Laura Besley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Kendall
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 Salon.com. 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' ...more
Spike
Jul 10, 2009 Spike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 surrog ...more
Pedro
Dec 23, 2015 Pedro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 d ...more
Diana Passy
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
...more
David Sheward
Jun 19, 2015 David Sheward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Holyfool
uncertain and raw short stories noir. a beginning with no end and an end with no beginning.

you 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 read.

you must have an open mind while reading this book, not so much about the way t
...more
Josie
Jan 20, 2012 Josie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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, a ...more
Suzanne Northcott
Mar 07, 2013 Suzanne Northcott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 tha ...more
Nurshafiqa
Jul 16, 2011 Nurshafiqa rated it liked it
picked this book because the title sounds interesting. and there's some sort of sheep-dog hybrid which looks quite cute. anyway since i'm too lazy to write a proper review, i'll just share some thoughts.

okay so the book OVERALL, was.. okay. there's a few stories inside that stands out, and a few that left me thinking, "what?". actually.. truth be told, i read this book only when i had absolutely nothing to do. it was not the kind of book that made me genuinely want to read, that i specially made
...more
Nick Davies
Jan 14, 2016 Nick Davies rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
This collection of short stories was definitely interesting, and in places the quality of the writing was exceptionally clever and attractive, but to me the nature of the beast meant that I could only give it three and a bit out of five. AM Homes is an excellent writer, and half of these stories were damned fine, but there were just too many of them which I didn't like, and there is just too much about the short story format which leaves me dissatisfied. Perhaps it's because you don't really get ...more
AJ
Jun 10, 2012 AJ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition


I half wonder if it was my attention span these days that made most of this book hard for me. I should have picked up something lighter... But coming off the last book I read by Homes, I suppose I also had high expectations. This book of short stories did not grab me in any case; I found most of the stories without hope or warmth. When I did get vested in one of the stories, ultimate lately, I found myself depressed or let down in the end. Not a total loss but I guess in my current frame of my
...more
Amanda
Jun 12, 2014 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Each chapter is its own window into someone's life. It is interesting in that way, that you are able to step into the middle of a life story. But what this book lacks, what so many books of this nature lack, is closure. None of the tales end so much as the curtain is drawn on the window you were peaking through, and you must now guess at what continues in the unseen room beyond. Well written and intriguing, this book leaves you wanting for more of the lives you have attached yourself to through ...more
Art
Jun 23, 2009 Art rated it it was amazing
this collection really surprised me. i don't know if i can put my finger on why, but just the diversity of stories told, the manner in which they are told, the risks of what kind activities go on in the stories...its a very full book and the stories stay with you. each deals, in very different ways, with following what we feel to be our most private desires, about lying, about living out a life in which you don't feel like you exercise much control, about transformations without the clear dividi ...more
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A.M. Homes (first name Amy) is the author of the novels, This Book Will Save Your Life, Music For Torching, The End of Alice, In a Country of Mothers, and Jack, as well as the short-story collections, Things You Should Know and The Safety of Objects, the travel memoir, Los Angeles: People, Places and The Castle on the Hill, and the artist's book Appendix A: An Elaboration on the Novel the End of A ...more
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