"Taut with tension.… [E]nding with a hint of hope."—Rob Merrill, Associated Press
Cathartic, affirming, and steeped in the empathy and precise observations of character for which Dubus is celebrated, Gone So Long explores how the wounds of the past afflict the people we become.
Gone So Long is a riveting family drama about an ex-con who did time for murder, the estranged daughter he hasn’t seen in forty years, and the grandmother angry enough to kill him. A profound exploration of the struggle between the selves we wish to be, and the ones—shaped by chance and circumstance, as well as character—that we can’t escape, it confirms Andre Dubus’s reputation as a novelist whose “compassion is unsentimental and unblinking, total and unwavering” (Paul Harding).
Andre Dubus III is the author of Gone So Long, Dirty Love, The Garden of Last Days, House of Sand and Fog (a #1 New York Times bestseller, Oprah’s Book Club pick, and finalist for the National Book Award), and Townie, winner of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His writing has received many honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Magazine Award, and two Pushcart Prizes. He lives with his family north of Boston.
Gone So Long: A Novel 4.3 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
“Papa loved Mama
Mama loved men
Mama's in the graveyard
Papa's in the pen”
--Garth Brooks, Papa loved Mama, Ropin’ the Wind
So goes the story of Danny and Linda. Danny was the unattractive boy with the great voice, tapped to be the DJ at the local boardwalk. Linda was beautiful and smart. Danny could hardly believe his good luck when she noticed him. Linda’s pregnancy precipitated their marriage. But Danny was plagued with jealousy, and in one violent moment it all came to an end.
Andre Dubus III has written a hauntingly beautiful story of love and jealousy. It is told from three viewpoints, Danny, his daughter Susan, and Noni, Linda’s mother who raised Susan. Dubus unfolds the story in real time and flashbacks, forty years after that fateful day. Danny has served his time, is living a solitary life and is dying. An aging Noni is bitter and unforgiving. Susan, as beautiful as her mother, is incapable of lasting relationships. Danny’s wish is to see Susan one time before he dies. Dubus eloquently captures the suffering that they all endured. Raw emotion fills this novel.
Books and writing play an important role in Dubus’s story. Linda loved to read and read to Susan when she was a child. Noni claims that Susan spent her childhood with her head in a book. Susan is struggling to write a novel, which is morphing into a memoir. Susan’s story emerges through this book within a book. Danny is struggling to write a letter to Susan telling her of his regrets and expressing a desire to see her one last time. I found the emphasis on books to be an interesting aspect of this story.
I love this writing style. Several pages in, I realized that this book was written by a Southerner, where story telling is a major activity. Like most Southern writers, Dubus uses beautiful descriptions to illustrate his story. He could probably win an award for the longest sentences in contemporary literature! You would need a blackboard to diagram some of these. In my mind’s eye, that slow descriptive style embellishes the story.
This is my first Andre Dubus III book. I thank Netgalley and W.W.Norton & Co. for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review. I can’t wait to read more of this author.
I give this book a strong 5 star rating.
More than 1 year ago
It was a fairly intense read. Kept your attention even though it was a narrowly focused read. Definitely would recommend it.
More than 1 year ago
Via flashbacks and autobiographical account Andre Dubus takes us on a journey into the lives of Suzie Dunn and her husband Bobby, her father Danny Ahearn and her grandmother Lois (Noni) Dubie with his latest look at the gritty lives of everyday folks and the toll that jealousy and anger extracts.
Dubus is an author who likes to place his characters in seemingly hopeless situations as he takes deep dives into their emotions closely examining their mistakes and regrets, hatred and acrimony and how they eventually learn to accept and deal with them. He did it with THE HOUSE O SAND AND FOG and once again he does it with GONE SO LONG. He is a master of understatement and the slow burn and as an author his compassionate yet unsentimental eye just reports, never judges and allows the reader to draw their own conclusions about how they feel about the characters.
Dubus creates stories where people live in the real world so you never expect the fairy tale “happily ever after” ending. Without giving anything away I am happy to say that this book concludes on a much more hopeful note than HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG
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