A.M. Homes II (BSS #115)

AM Homes is most recently the author of The Mistress’s Daughter.

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Remarkably terse.

Author: A.M. Homes

Subjects Discussed: Expanding the New Yorker piece to book form, the rules of memoir, inventing deposition testimony, being “dished up” by the Roiphe sisters, the false connection between Homes’ novels and the memoir, Joan Didion, the culture of confessional memoirs, truth stranger than truth, speculating upon parents, being fact-checked by The New Yorker, negotiating with Granta and The New Yorker, declarative sentences, deciding what to reveal, court documents, judging other people, not running from the truth, Daughters of the American Revolution, on being excluded by family, and maternal fantasies.


Homes: The lawyers kept saying to me that you should sue your father for paternity. And I kept thinking, I don’t really want to do that. And a couple of things became clear to me. One was how interesting it is that one person’s decision to exclude you from your family history excludes you from all of your family history. Hundreds and hundreds of years, and yet you’re no more or less related to any one person than another. And how interesting is that someone could remove you from all that. So that was kind of fascinating to me. And then I was thinking about, if we did sue him, what would happen? And essentially, he would be legally compelled to not only produce some sort of a test or a document, but also to really answer all of the questions that had never been asked. And I also thought as an artist or writer that was most interested in these, by that point the reader knows who my biological father is well enough to participate in the reading, that I could just ask the questions and not even have to provide answers.