Dirty Love by Andre Dubus III

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The sly corrosiveness and sharply holographic details of the first three stories aren’t as evident in the novella-length “Dirty Love,” which, tempo-wise, functions as a kind of adagio to the previous movements’ andantes.
-Toronto Star

Synopsis

In this heartbreakingly beautiful book of disillusioned intimacy and persistent yearning, beloved and celebrated author Andre Dubus III explores the bottomless needs and stubborn weaknesses of people seeking gratification in food and sex, work and love.


In these linked novellas in which characters walk out the back door of one story and into the next, love is "dirty"—tangled up with need, power, boredom, ego, fear, and fantasy. 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, aging and death, but also 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.

 

About Andre Dubus III

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Andre Dubus III is the author of 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.
 
Published October 7, 2013 by W. W. Norton & Company. 309 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Dirty Love
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jul 01 2013

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.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Jeff Turrentine on Nov 15 2013

Figures who are completely marginal in one story reappear as central characters of other stories, a bit of trickery I was ready to dismiss as a Hollywood-baiting gimmick until Dubus, with his unusual gift for stretching the reader’s sympathy, convinced me of his true aim...He’s reminding us that we’re related to them.

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Star Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Mark Athitakis on Oct 12 2013

But like a star quarterback who tends to drop snaps, Dubus can make dispiriting missteps...Dubus seems unconvinced that the reader will understand these predicaments as predicaments unless he spells them out.

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Toronto Star

Below average
Reviewed by Emily Donaldson on Nov 20 2013

The sly corrosiveness and sharply holographic details of the first three stories aren’t as evident in the novella-length “Dirty Love,” which, tempo-wise, functions as a kind of adagio to the previous movements’ andantes.

Read Full Review of Dirty Love | See more reviews from Toronto Star

Reader Rating for Dirty Love
62%

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