It’s one of the oldest, most often told stories in literature: brotherly rivalry. Now award-winning author A.M. Homes takes a turn. Her new novel, May We Be Forgiven, follows two brothers whose lives are irreparably changed after a catastrophic act of violence. In this exclusive Zola list, she shares the books about brothers that influenced this unnerving chronicle of a deeply fractured family.
The Sound and the Fury
“A technical wonder, a feat of great imagination, and an illumination on the dissolution of a family.”
Death of a Salesman
“A pivotal play for me—all about the American dream, the family, and one generation’s hopes for the next.”
East of Eden
“It’s Cain and Abel. I adore Steinbeck for his ability to be simultaneously simple in his language and profound in his thoughts.”
“Ezekiel Farragut, a university professor, is jailed for fratricide. My favorite of Cheever’s novels, this book is the literary seed for both The End of Alice and May We Be Forgiven. And in its painful description of the bonds between men—both sibling and sexual—it reads as the most honest/exposing of Cheever’s novels.”
The Brothers Karamazov
“Fyodor Dostoevsky’s last stand. Philosophical explorations of free will, god, and morality. Again, the story of a family—of three sons (and one more, illegitimate). A deep exploration of love, of jealousy, of greed. There is none better.”
“Riveting. Can’t put it down. It’s like consuming history and candy all at once.”
This article originally appeared on Zola Books.