From the award-winning author of the #1 bestseller House of Sand and Fog, a heartbreakingly beautiful book of disillusioned intimacy and persistent yearning.
With “an eye for searing detail that is unequaled so far this century” (Dallas Morning News) celebrated author Andre Dubus III explores the bottomless needs and stubborn weaknesses of people seeking gratification in food and sex, work and love.
On the Massachusetts coast north of Boston, a controlling manager, Mark, discovers his wife’s infidelity after twenty-five years of marriage. An overweight young woman, Marla, gains a romantic partner but loses her innocence. A philandering bartender/aspiring poet, Robert, betrays his pregnant wife. And in the stunning title novella, a teenage girl named Devon, fleeing a dirty image of her posted online, seeks respect in the eyes of her widowed great-uncle Francis and of an Iraq vet she’s met surfing the Web.
Slivered by happiness and discontent, shadowed by aging and death but also by persistent hope and forgiveness, these beautifully wrought narratives express extraordinary tenderness toward human beings, our vulnerable hearts and bodies, our fulfilling and unfulfilling lives alone and with others.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
I find short stories frustrating (with some notable exceptions such as Cate Kennedy, Alice Munro, Karen Hitchcock, Anton Chekhov). No sooner have you got into them than they have finished. This collection is different. The stories are linked, lightly, and are also of a satisfyingly substantial length so that instead of feeling hungry from snacking, you feel nourished.
Set on the east coast of the US outside Boston, they explore the deeper, darker recesses of the mind and the messed up way people sabotage relationships.
Dubus shows great tenderness for his characters, no matter how foolishly they wreck their lives, catching the idioms and tensions of contemporary life in bracingly muscular writing. A really strong, haunting collection.
About the Author
Andre Dubus III grew up in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and is the author of Townie (winner of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award), The Garden of Last Days, House of Sand and Fog (a National Book Award finalist and Oprah pick), Bluesman, and The Cage Keeper & Other Stories. He lives with his family north of Boston.
"First rate fiction by a dazzling talent. (starred review)" "Highly recommended... Filled with heartbreak, slices of happiness, and unrelenting hope." -- Lisa Block "It's that just-out-of-reach desire that creates such poignancy in each of these stories, including one about a philandering bartender named Robert, who likes to pretend he's a poet. He's not, but Dubus is. He's got a transparent, easy style that's never self-consciously lyrical but constantly delivers phrases of insight and gentle wit that lay open these characters without scalding them with irony, as we've come to expect from so many clever novelists." -- Ron Charles "I can think of no novelist who renders the gritty, down-and-out corners of New England better than Dubus, and those beautifully specific, contained slices of American life open into whole universes of love, violence, guilt, and betrayal." "Powerful... lush." -- Anthony Doerr "Fabulous...[Dubus's] writing is as gorgeous as ever." -- Kim Curtis "[Dubus] writ[es] with...winning candor and intelligence." -- Mark Athitakis "Staggeringly good... . Dubus can home in more quickly and efficiently on a character's inner life than any writer I've encountered in recent memory." -- Jeff Turrentine "Intimate short stories and novellas about the difficulty of sharing lives, about betrayal and fidelity and the emotional violence we inflict on the people we love." -- Nina MacLaughlin "Dubus delivers strong insights into bad behavior." -- Mary Pols "Gorgeous." -- Chloe Schama "[N]obody does quiet desperation better than Dubus."
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 1st December 2013
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Dimensions (cm): 24.3 x 16.7 x 2.7
Edition Number: 1