DIRTY LOVE by Andre Dubus III
Kirkus Star

DIRTY LOVE

KIRKUS REVIEW

Dubus anatomizes personal—especially sexual—relationships brilliantly in these loosely concatenated novellas.

At the center of the characters’ world are the small, economically depressed towns in Massachusetts where waiters, waitresses, bartenders and bankers live and move and have their being. To Dubus’ credit, he doesn’t feel he has to solve their personal problems and the intricate twists of their relationships. Instead, he chronicles what’s going on with sympathy but without any sense that he needs to rescue them. In the first narrative, we meet hapless Mark Welch, who’s recently found out his wife, Laura, is having an affair with a banker. Although occasionally picking up and hefting a piece of lead pipe, Mark ultimately finds himself powerless to change the circumstances of his life. In the second story, we follow Marla, a physically unprepossessing bank teller (yes, she works at the same bank as Laura’s lover) who feels her life slipping away from her. She begins a desultory affair with a 37-year-old engineer whose passions tend toward video games and keeping his house pathologically clean. The next story introduces us to Robert Doucette, bartender and poet manqué, who marries Althea, a sweet but reticent upholsterer. In the final months of Althea’s pregnancy, Robert has hot sex with Jackie, a waitress at the restaurant, and Althea finds this out and simultaneously goes into labor. The final narrative focuses on Devon, an 18-year-old waitress at the tavern where Robert works. To get away from an abusive father, she lives with a considerate great uncle (who harbors his own secrets), but she has to deal with the unintended consequences of an untoward sexual act that was disseminated through social media.

First-rate fiction by a dazzling talent.

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-393-06465-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2013




BEST NOVELS TO GET YOUR BOOK CLUB TALKING:

Fiction LONGBOURN by Jo Baker
by Jo Baker
Fiction LOOKAWAY, LOOKAWAY by Wilton Barnhardt
by Wilton Barnhardt
Fiction A COMMONPLACE KILLING by Siân Busby
by Siân Busby
Fiction A THOUSAND PARDONS by Jonathan Dee
by Jonathan Dee

MORE BY ANDRE DUBUS III

NonfictionTOWNIE by Andre Dubus III
by Andre Dubus III
FictionHOUSE OF SAND AND FOG by Andre Dubus III
by Andre Dubus III

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionBREWSTER by Mark Slouka
by Mark Slouka
FictionTHE MARRIAGE PLOT by Jeffrey Eugenides
by Jeffrey Eugenides
FictionTHE SENSE OF AN ENDING by Julian Barnes
by Julian Barnes