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Selected stories

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  2,061 ratings  ·  104 reviews
Dubus's selected works--now available as an ebook Twenty-three of the best stories by one of America's finest practitioners of short fiction John Updike once said of his friend and fellow writer Andre Dubus: "[He] is a shrewd student of people who come to accept pain as a fair price for pleasure, and to view right and wrong as a matter of degree." Dubus's characters are de ...more
476 pages
Published March 8th 1991 by Picador (first published 1988)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Moira Russell
Probably the last time I read this book straight through was sometime early in the last decade; I bought his kid's memoir on Kindle, and then saw the Selected Stories on sale and snapped them up. The best of Dubus on my ereader: how could I resist?

"Rose" remains as much of a heartstopper as when I first read it, in....God could it have been 1987? 1986? I think so, my copy of The Last Worthless Evening dates to then. My dad read me "A Father's Story" at around the same time, an amazing experience
...more
Veronica
Andre Dubus is my favorite American short story writer. In fact, he is one of my few favorite American writers period. He has the realism of Cheever and Carver, but more warmth than Carver and Hemingway. His prose is understated and never unnecessary; he is one of the few writers I have read where every word in every sentence, and every sentence is not only necessary, but meaningful as well (Tom Robbins and Virginia Woolf are others). He is worth reading for his prose alone.

Many, if not most, o
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Shaindel
Oct 27, 2007 Shaindel is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Only two stories in so far (short stories are my solace when grading papers, so I grade a certain number then read a story, and so on). I might sell my soul to be able to write like this. Wow.
Derek
The stories collected here are weird.

Not weird in any predictable, clichéd sense, either. It's just that Dubus seems to be working with different material than so many other short story writers (Alice Munro seems like a notable exception, but their voices aren't exactly redundant of one another, either). Much of the work appearing in Selected Stories sounds more like a novel than a short story; the patience that Dubus exhibits (and ultimately asks of his readers, too) is extraordinary. He's usin
...more
Matt
The truly remarkable thing about this collection is the number of times I had to stop and reassess characters, examining their actions in relation to their thoughts and emotions. Many have said that Dubus writes all his characters with great sympathy, but I think what he does is even more striking: he writes them the way they wish they could write themselves. That's the way I can feel great pain for a man's childhood loss of his Marine brother, even after he has raped his ex-wife and set fire to ...more
Patrick Faller
A truly regional writer, Dubus manages an expansiveness that comes out of an almost intimate understanding of his character's inner lives. He provides us with an example of a writer who makes what might have been unnecessary backstory relevant to the events of his narratives, as the psychological groundwork shaping his characters' attitudes and motivations. While at times Dubus seems to espouse a narrow view of gender relationships and can become at times a little reductive when writing about wo ...more
Daniel
Dubus is often called a "writer's writer," which in general seems a dubious compliment. Are writers truly capable of identifying subtleties in a colleague's work that the average reader can't? When a writer is granted this appellation, I think it's more likely his work is viewed as stylish but slow-paced, elliptical, the equivalent of an art house film or avant-garde play. A select few--the cultured--will enjoy it; the rest of us stumble through wishing we were reading John Grisham. This is part ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Dubus's acute eye pinpoints human behavior, cleanly and realistically. Credit has been given to Peter Yates, his mentor in Iowa, for development of his spare style, nailing with a few words situations that others have spent pages on. The writer he reminds me most of is Raymond Carver -- each was a chronicler of his age, but their stories are universal, never stale.
Cassie
Finished this book a while ago, so some stories are little hazy, but I remember for the most part I was impressed. Dubus has a remarkable ability to write the female mind, seen best in The Fat Girl and The Graduation. Especially when reading The Fat Girl I was completely shocked that he so perfectly captured not only the relationship between women and food, but the relationship between daughters and mothers. There were other good stories; A Father's Story, although a little long and at times rep ...more
Erik Simon
This guy is so good he hurts. Most of the stories are amazing, especially, "The Fat Girl," and "Townies," but the final story of the book, "A Father's Story," is an absolute miracle. I liked it so much that I ordered a hardbound copy from a used book store since I plan to be reading these stories for many, many years.
Trina
As with many collections, some stories had greater impact than others, which is why I wavered between "I liked it" and "I liked it a lot". All of the stories unfolded slowly, in slow-burn mode; a very few of them fizzled and some of them exploded.

Overarching themes of Catholicism, sin, adultery, feminism, revenge, morality, love. The characters are impeccably written. They are neither entirely good nor bad, right or wrong --- but none of them seem very happy. Dubus didn't judge or side with any
...more
Mauberley
This was my introduction to Dubus' work and I was mightily impressed, particularly by the longer stories ('Rose', 'Voices From the Moon'), particularly 'Adultery' which, to me, artfully conveyed the difference between sin and crime. In al of the stories, the love they make and the drugs they take were insightfully described. Some readers seem to pick up on this line from 'Voices From the Moon' and I can see why: '...we don't have to live great lives, we just have to understand and survive the on ...more
Leah
This is simply my most favorite short story collection ("A Father's Story" - read it) by one of my favorite authors.
Jason M.
Nov 14, 2009 Jason M. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jason M. by: teppay@yahoo.com
Wonderul. Absolutely freaking wonderful.
Donna Kirk
he's kind of a creep.
Heather Mayes
Very well-written, but toward the end, I just wanted it over, because it is a chronicle of pain and horrible experiences (domestic violence and adultery are recurring themes, and just a couple of the kinds of ways people hurt each other that are explored in these stories).

It may be easier to read these stories in their original collections, rather than this "best-of" collection. That may both limit the length of the marathon and help keep the time period straight. I often thought about when the
...more
Kristen
Wahoo! I finally finished this one. I read this book of short stories slowly, to savor the writing with every beat of my wannabewriter heart. I developed a habit of reading a few pages each week before settling down to work on my own writing. It was my way to "get in the zone."

Someone wrote they would give their soul to write like Andrew Dubus and I just might concur. His stories instruct the heart in their rich protrayal of the human existence. Talk about character development! You find yourse
...more
Ryan
Reading this through a second time (the first time was many years ago), I definitely didn't feel the same rapture as the first time. In fact, I found many of the stories to be tedious and repetitious (we get it, you live in a small, working-class New England town, people cheat on each other and drink a lot). It could have been because reading this while in school really dragged it out longer than it should have, and I always get impatient with books if it takes me too long to read them. Some of ...more
Lea
I've been on a short story kick lately. I really loved these stories - many of which are heart breaking - but there is an honesty about them that made me appreciate them. I particularly enjoyed the short story about the mother whose story explains domestic violence and the way that it cycles and the severity increases. It's an incredibly hard story to read, but it does an excellent job of explaining domestic violence. Better than any CLE I have been to on the topic. :-)
Edward Rush
I have bought this book on many occasions in my life. I first found it in "Skoob" Second Hand Books in London. I was attracted to it by the Edward Hopper picture on the cover. I bought subsequent copies in the US, Thailand and Germany. One of my copies has a burn on the cover from an incense stick that an Australian monk in rural Thailand used to read it in his kuti.

I've said all this because this book has been with me throughout my adult life. I can't imagine a year when I will not revisit the
...more
Rashmi Tiwari
I love this man. Seriously a master of the short story. Though I do get a bit irked by the way he sometimes portrays women (a lot of nesting impulses and lovely long brown hair), he does capture a time and a place perfectly. He also GETS the way people relate to one another and there are countless times when I've read his stories nodding like, "FUCK yeah, that is TOTALLY how it feels to do/say/think X." Love love love.
David
It's amazing to go from story to story in this collection and see the diverse kinds of characters Dubus is able to work with and still be able to be completely in their heads. The stalker ex-husband and the stalked ex-wife in "The Pretty Girl" are both as rich as each other and just as compelling (frighteningly so in the case of the ex-husband). Dubus works with an incredible amount of detail as well. By the end of a story I feel like I know everything I'd ever want to about that character's lif ...more
Brad
Magnificent. Dubus writes about burdens. Something terrible happens, and you have to get up the next day and live the rest of your life. To quote Hemingway, "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places." I have a hard time writing more about them, I can't do them any justice. I will say that for the first time in my life I understand catholicism, so there's something.

Reading this book after his son's book "Townie" has probably been the single best reading experi
...more
Ellen
Jun 22, 2008 Ellen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ellen by: Bradin Farnworth
Shelves: catholicism
I was surprised how quickly I flew through these stories. After each one ended, I immediately wanted to start reading the next. I found his sentences to be plain, a bit boring at times, but that almost didn't matter, because there was some kind of inexplicable tenderness in each one. Many of the characters are Catholics grappling with guilt, sexuality, suffering, divorce, etc. in the context of the faith. Walker Percy once said, when asked what his latest book was about, that it was "about the s ...more
Ben Z.
Dubus is one of the greatest American short story writers, despite never gaining the notoriety or success of contemporaries like Chandler, Cheever or Updike--all of whom where heavily influenced by his work and style. Dubus is often referred to as "The American Che
khov".

The stories are largely tragic and the characters are ugly. The writing is unpretentious and the stories are perfectly constructed. Some of the works ("The Townies", "The Pretty Girl", "The Curse") will stick in your head well a
...more
Eugenie
Jan 21, 2008 Eugenie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: manly men, strong women
To read this book is to share an often uncomfortable intimacy with ordinary characters either bearing or inflicting great pain. Dubus's small world is so familiar, so sparse and so simple, but here are also the vast, irreconcilable differences between men and women, rich and poor, strong and weak. The deepest exploration of the Catholic perspective on life that I've ever read in fiction, a facet I enjoyed more than I ever would have guessed. Dubus is not afraid of melodrama and goes over the top ...more
Terry
Able to capture human emotions in less than perfect situations.
Noreen
Jun 28, 2007 Noreen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of short stories
Shelves: fiction
An exquisite writer. The stories in this collection are rich. His characters represent the ordinary American in ordinary situations making their experience extraordinary. His prose is clear, his meanings resonate. The story “Voices from the Moon” is told in sections from different character’s view points. The story clearly depicts the flaws and virtues of characters and life. The structures are beginning, middle and end. He does use a lot of exposition, but he makes it work.
Tara C
Andre Dubus is the modern-day Chekov in his control and mastery over the short story. He gives each story it's own perfect world that lesser authors require novels to try to accomplish. That two 20-30 page storys can be turned into full-length movies shows how rich his stories are.
Andre Dubus occupies a large part of my book-reading-loving heart. This book is the best choice if one wants as much Dubus-goodness as possible in one collection.
Jason Hillenburg
Going cold into this without any knowledge about Dubus, I didn't have any idea about what I could expect. My risk was well rewarded. This is an exemplary collection full of clean, honest prose that rarely takes shortcuts to achieve emotional effects. My only quibble is that some of the stories lack dramatic action and rely too much on exposition at the expense of depicting character. As a result, the collection could have been trimmed some.
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Award-winning author Andre Dubus II (1936–1999) has been hailed as one of the best American short story writers of the twentieth century. Dubus’s collections of short fiction include Separate Flights (1975), Adultery & Other Choices (1977), and Dancing After Hours (1996), which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Another collection, Finding a Girl in America, features the story ...more
More about Andre Dubus...
Dancing After Hours In the Bedroom: Seven Stories We Don't Live Here Anymore Meditations from a Movable Chair Broken Vessels

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