Think it through before you burn your house down


In addition to being a master of her craft, A.M. Homes always manages to shock me. In Music for Torching, she takes a regular, married suburban couple with two kids, puts them in unusual yet believable situations, takes your hand and walks you through it.

If you've read Homes's story collection Safety of Objects, you'll remember the main characters Paul and Elaine. They used to be in love but now they're just annoying hell out of one another, they wanted to have everything and now that they do they're bored with it. They have friends from their neighborhood where they all want to throw the perfect party, which includes serving AND consuming sufficient amounts of alcohol.

One day while the couple is starting a barbecue in their yard, they think the same thing and agree upon it without having to use words: Elaine pushes the barbecue over and it catches on fire. What follows, in general, is them trying put their house and life back together. However, what makes it worth reading is all that happens during, and, of course, the unexpected, kind of "ohnoyoudidn't" kind of ending.

I must also add that I disliked every single character in this book, even the kids. Yet it's already made its way into my "favorites" shelf. Even though it was written more than ten years ago, it pretty much sums up what we're going through today. And, as always, Homes's ability to tell what usually goes untold is both disturbing and fascinating at the same time.

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