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Selected Stories

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  2,321 ratings  ·  114 reviews
These twenty-three stories represent the best work of one of the finest and most emotionally revealing writers in America. Andre Dubus treats his characters--a bereaved father stalking his son's killer; a woman crying alone by her television late at night; a devout teenager writing in the coils of faith and sexuality; a father's story of limitless love for his daughter--wi ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published December 4th 1995 by Vintage (first published 1988)
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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
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
Oct 27, 2007 Shaindel is currently reading it
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.
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
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
"...We don't have to live great lives, we just have to understand and survive the ones we've got…"

It took me weeks to read Andre Dubus’ “Selected Stories” because they were very good and very sad. Many of the stories left me reeling from the visceral fears and pains that could not be sidestepped. I had to take breaks and return when I felt ready for more raging sorrow.

Dubus excelled in his vivid and sympathetic rendering of the inner life of his characters. It was as though he had lived each of
Donna Kirk
he's kind of a creep.
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
Trevor Pearson
"I have often imagined him returning home a week early that summer, to a mother, to a father; and having to watch his father's face as the boy told him he failed because he was weak. A trifling incident in a whole lifetime, you may say. Not true. It could have changed him forever, his life with other men, with women, with daughters, and especially sons. We like to believe that in this last quarter of the century, we know and are untouched by everything; yet it takes only a very small jolt, at t
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.
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
All throughout reading this book I was thinking about what I would say about it, and now that I'm finished, I don't know what to say. Objectively, it's good. It's ripe with human emotion, folly, insight. The writing is well crafted. I think this may have to do with collections of short stories in general, so this isn't necessarily a fault of the book but a fault of the form--it took me ages to get through Selected Stories. And I think this is because it's difficult to keep the momentum going aft ...more
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
It's about Catholicism, and the Northeast and once the South, and boys and girls and the things they do to each other. I will be reading more Dubus, for sure.
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
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
Recommended to Jason M. by:
Wonderul. Absolutely freaking wonderful.
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
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
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
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
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.
Caspar Peek
Stories are so different from novels, or supposed to be, and it is rare that you find a writer who masters the genre as well as Dubus. One critic once wrote that it was as if Dubus "were able to breathe light into his stories", if I'm paraphrasing it right, and this is so true: it's a bit like looking at a Rembrandt painting and sensing that light illuminating the darker parts, the parts that had remained unseen until the painter made them visible. And so it is with Dubus perhaps. The people in ...more
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
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
Jun 22, 2008 Ellen rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Paul Hansbury
This was not well-served by reading straight through, which is the way I've tended to tackle books of late. As a collection of stories, it suffered in my estimation by repetitive locales and themes. I liked it more when I would read a story from it every so often as opposed to reading the whole book from front to back.
Didn't like the ones I read much. I don't think he writes well or true from the diverse perspectives he uses. Didn't make it all the way through.
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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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“we don’t have to live great lives, we just have to understand and survive the ones we’ve got.” 1 likes
“can’t make marriage the be-all and end-all. Because if you do it won’t work. Listen: from the looks of things we’ve got one of the few solid marriages around. But it took work, pussycat. Work.’ Her eyes gleamed with the victory of that work, the necessity for it.” 0 likes
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