After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their exhausted working mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and crime. To protect himself and those he loved from street violence, Andre learned to use his fists so well that he was even scared of himself. He was on a fast track to getting killed--or killing someone else--or to beatings-for-pay as a boxer.
Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash of worlds couldn't have been more stark--or more difficult for a son to communicate to a father. Only by becoming a writer himself could Andre begin to bridge the abyss and save himself. His memoir is a riveting, visceral, profound meditation on physical violence and the failures and triumphs of love.
"You have to buy Townie." -- The Chronicle of Higher Education
"Starred Review. Dubus chronicles each traumatic incident and realization in stabbing detail. So chiseled are his dramatic memories, his shocking yet redemptive memoir of self-transformation feels like testimony under oath as well as hard-hammered therapy, coalescing, ultimately, in a generous, penetrating, and cathartic dissection of misery and fury, creativity and forgiveness, responsibility and compassion." -- Booklist
"Starred Review. His compassionate memoir abounds with exquisitely rendered scenes of fighting, cheating, drugging, drinking and loving. A striking, eloquent account of growing up poor and of the making of a writer." -- Kirkus Reviews
"[A] harrowing and strange and beautiful book....an important moment in the growing body of Dubus's work. " -- Boston Globe
"In his memoir Townie, Andre Dubus III bravely claims all of the shadows he grew up under-his famous writer father, his parents' divorce, his newly single mother's impoverishment, the rough streets of the many working-class New England towns he called home. Fighting saved him for a while; then he put down his fists and picked up a pen. Lucky him, lucky us." -- Elle
"[Dubus] is such a solid writer, he redeems the genre. He shows that truth can be as honest as fiction." -- Seattle Times
"His ability to describe violence might be unmatched among contemporary writers. He understands the arcane, unspoken vocabulary of how fights start, as well as the bone-crushing details of how they end. But Townie is most memorable for how vulnerable Dubus seems, once he has stripped himself down to the soul for his readers." -- Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Dubus writes compellingly of those trying times. Townie is a poignant coming-of-age story told by a man whose raw determination allowed him to endure a boyhood ruled by violence and emerge talented enough to write about it with brutal honesty." -- Miami Herald
"Townie has all the rich texture, lucid characterization, compelling conflicts and narrative momentum of the best fiction. It renders heartbreaking, violent, tender and sometimes absurdly comic scenes without a trace of narcissism or sentimentality. From first sentence to last, Dubus employs a dispassionate yet urgent voice. It allows him to do justice to his past and to the people who populated it." -- Cleveland Plain-Dealer
"Fans of Dubus's fiction will thrill to reading his muscular, occasionally lyrical prose rendering his own life." -- Smith Magazine
"In this powerful memoir, Andre Dubus III explores the complicated and intense relationships between siblings, mothers and sons, and fathers and sons. Growing up in hardscrabble old mill towns, Dubus learned to fight and survive and ultimately to find his own glorious voice ... as Dubus finds his redemptive place in the world at last." -- Ann Hood, author of The Red Thread
"Whatever it cost Dubus to bare his soul and write this brutally honest and life-affirming memoir, it is an extraordinary gift to his readers." -- Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believed