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Dirty Loveby Andre Dubus III
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"The master of naturalistic New England fiction returns with a book of four loosely connected short works that showcases his Dreisarian abilities at their most trenchant. In the superb 'Listen Carefully as Our Options Have Changed,' Mark Welch is a middle-aged project manager who suspects that his wife is having an affair. How he finds out and what he does about it form the core of this novella, which is affecting for all the ways the author shows how difficult it is to accept that sometimes we know the least about those we think we know best. Credit Dubus for taking a hackneyed premise and making it seem new through the specificity of his observations. One shorter work deals with Marla, an overweight bank teller, and the surprising things she discovers about herself after she falls in love for the first time; another follows Robert Doucette, a bartender-cum-poet who cheats on his pregnant wife in a way that has repercussions for their unborn daughter. In The Scarlet Letter-ish title novella, teenage Devon Brandt, after an Internet indiscretion went viral, goes off to live with her great-uncle Francis, a recent widower and Korean War veteran, and develops an online relationship with Hollis, a 27-year-old Army vet. But will she ever be able to escape her past? Once again, Dubus creates deeply flawed characters and challenges the reader to identify with their common humanity. Agent: Philip Spitzer, Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"First rate fiction by a dazzling talent." Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"Highly recommended....Filled with heartbreak, slices of happiness, and unrelenting hope." Lisa Block, Library Journal
"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, Washington Post
"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." The New Republic
"Powerful...lush." Anthony Doerr, Boston Globe
"Fabulous...[Dubus's] writing is as gorgeous as ever." Kim Curtis, Associated Press
"[Dubus] writ[es] with...winning candor and intelligence." Mark Athitakis, Star Tribune
From the award-winning author of the #1 bestseller House of Sand and Fog, a heartbreakingly beautiful book of disillusioned intimacy and persistent yearning.
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.
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