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In the Bedroom: Seven Stories

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  785 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
The seven stories collected here–including “Killings,” the basis for Todd Field’s award-winning film In the Bedroom–showcase legendary writer Andre Dubus’s sheer narrative mastery in a book of quietly staggering emotional power.

A father in mourning contemplates the unthinkable as the only way to allay his grief. A boy must learn to care for his younger brother when their m
Paperback, 148 pages
Published January 29th 2002 by Vintage (first published 1983)
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Nov 22, 2016 Fabian rated it really liked it
It is clear to me that the late Andre Dubus is not really a great writer but an important one, if that makes sense. This collection is not extraordinary for any other fact than how truly ordinary all these tales of familial devotion, hatred & heartbreak are. For some reason all three stories that deal with death, if not murder, resonate the most with me.
Dec 29, 2012 Brian rated it it was amazing
Like delicate beings who live precarious lives on the skin of a soap bubble, Dubus's fictional characters inhabit space that is recognizable, heartbreaking and real. Even minor characters in his short stories still feel fully realized - a testament to superb writing that can give the reader the weight of the man (or woman) in a single sentence. In this collection of beautiful stories (all very good), "Rose" stands out an example of Dubus's power to capture the fragility of humanity, the unfathom ...more
Sep 30, 2010 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
My ESL student and I are now reading this book together. She (we) had enjoyed another of Dubus's books, Dancing After Hours: Stories , so this seemed like a logical choice. This has helped to boost her vocabulary, but occasionally the symbolism requires discussing, which is also beneficial to her. My student has remarked with a note of humor several times how long many of his sentences are!

Dubus had the exceptional talent of plumbing human
Apr 08, 2008 Kate rated it it was amazing
"A Father's Story" is on my top 5 short stories list. It might even be #1. Dubus's writing makes me ache - it is so beautiful, revelatory, and yet desperate, and searching. Really transcendent stuff. It's tough to make readers feel very deeply--especially in 25 pages or less--and in these stories, the author succeeds.
Simon A. Smith
Jul 09, 2007 Simon A. Smith rated it liked it
I find the same things wrong with Dubus that I find with Alice Munro. Both are clearly talented, gifted writers, I just can't get into really bloated short stories. I always want my short stories under 20 pages long. My feeling is that there has GOT to be some superflous stuff going on if you can't write the story in less than 10,000 words. If a "short story" is going to be 30+ pages, it better be damn good and tight as all get out. I feel the same away about novels... if someone writes a novel ...more
Kaitlyn Teabo
Feb 01, 2011 Kaitlyn Teabo rated it really liked it
Dubis, Andre. In the Bedroom. New York: Vintage Books, 2002.

“In the Bedroom” by Andre Dubis is a collection of seven of Dubis’ short stories. Each short story tells a tale of everyday life in the perspective of a character described so well that the reader may think, just for a short while, that they are that character. Dubis writes about the most critical part of a characters life, one that defines them. He writes about the raw moment of truth. For any fiction story, this is as real as it get
Sep 13, 2009 Lacey rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone!
This collection is a series of short stories by Dubus culled from his other works and is ostensibly patterned around stories that handle people at pivotal moments in their lives. I found this theme to be what was ultimately so moving about this collection of work, particularly reading the stories all together.

The first story, "Killings" was the basis for the movie In The Bedroom as the preface by Todd Field illuminates, and incidentally, I found "Killings" to be one of the least compelling stori
Gabrielle Cabreros
Jun 06, 2014 Gabrielle Cabreros rated it it was amazing
What a talent! I feel like I discovered a precious secret about living that I must keep to myself in order to maintain its authenticity. What beautifully constructed stories, revelatory in their heartbreaking descriptions of the subtleties of our interior lives. I could recognize flashes of Flannery O'Connor in stories like "A Father's Story" and "All the Time in the World," but the rest of this collection struck me as profoundly original and inimitable. These stories will become a part of my ev ...more
Read "The Killings" and really liked it.
Michael Thimsen
Feb 03, 2016 Michael Thimsen rated it it was amazing
This was a beautiful book, and deeply moving. The story, "A Winter Father" is hinged to my soul.
Apr 24, 2012 angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Andre Dubus was such a brilliant writer. I've just started this collection, but the two I've read have ripped out my heart, then kindly returned it, but with a different beat. ~
Jan 01, 2017 Greta rated it liked it
Andre Dubus writes from a man's perspective and with genuine sensitivity about relationships in this collection of stories, In the Bedroom. Life certainly gets lively in and around Boston and along the Merrimack river. Hope to see this part of America sometime soon, it's people sound much the same as folks around Washington state.
May 07, 2017 Lesley rated it it was amazing
This writer is brilliant! How he delves into not only the minute crevices of his characters lives, but into the pangs of their souls with delicate, heart-aching clarity is simply masterful. So much pain, so much beauty. I can't wait to read more from this writer.
Okay, in the end, this book really wasn't as bad as I was making it out to be. Yes, it took me a very long time to read this tiny (160 ish pages) book but I was also reading other things in between and I just haven't been reading my normal amount lately. Dubus takes awhile to get to the point in his stories but once he gets there, watch out. I was finishing the last story (not the last story in the book-the last story I had left-"Rose" I jumped around) while waiting for my son to finish with his ...more
Maggie Tiojakin
Oct 16, 2007 Maggie Tiojakin rated it really liked it
The first collection I read by Andre Dubus was "We Don't Live Here Anymore" -- which is more a novella than a short story collection, and which I bought because I fell in love with the film. That's a terrible way to be introduced to a writer, I know -- but I was only 20 at the time and had little reason to pick up a short story collection which speaks mostly about marriages and lives lost to quotidian dilemma. Anyway. I read the book, and found myself in awe of his honest portrayal of the world ...more
May 24, 2013 Sydney rated it it was amazing
Dubus was a master. His writing is beautiful and real and profound in a way that makes it hurt to think about the tragedies which he suffered in life, and which in turn fueled his fiction.
I reread this collection while staying at a cottage near where many of these stories took place—most notably, "Killings". Having grown up just one town over from Dubus, he describes in vivid detail the beaches at which I spent every summer as a child; the roads on which I drive; the places and towns I frequent
Leslie Wheat
Jun 21, 2013 Leslie Wheat rated it really liked it
I ordered this book for the sole intention of reading "Killings," which is the story one of my favorite films is based on (aptly named "In The Bedroom.") It turned out to be one of my least favorite stories; it makes a much better movie.

My personal favorites are "Rose", "The Fat Girl", and "A Father's Story." The characters exist in the delicate bubble between ethereal and reality. These stories personify the unfashionable depth of personal tragedy; also, the capacity of forgiveness and redempti
Dec 26, 2009 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
My favorite stories in this collection are: Winter Father, Rose, and The Fat Girl. They moved me very much, and I usually find that mostly I am unmoved with stories that deal with the same difficulties of marriage, abuse, or addiction. Dubus writes characters that are revealing and vulnerable. They are always afraid and that is something we all can relate to. Dubus is becoming maybe my second favorite author.
Dalton Hirshorn
Apr 28, 2008 Dalton Hirshorn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of John Cheever, people who like reading about emotions laid bare
It's short stories, so I can't really get into the plot, but WOW! This guy is great! I can't believe I've never read him before. Even though he was actually a Cajun, his style is very New England (Dubus did spend most of his adult life Massachusetts and New Hampshire). Some comic relief might have been nice, as there is a lot of heavy shit here: death, divorce, premeditated killing. It's a good thing this collection closes with an optimistic, uplifting story.
Robyn Stewart
Mar 03, 2012 Robyn Stewart rated it really liked it
There is a sweetness to these stories which I enjoyed. The stories are based in the mundane failings found in simply being alive. How life has a way of compounding into confusing dilemma no matter how hard we try to avoid it. "How did I get here" and, more important, the impulse of "how do I get out...".
I liked that there is a subtle Catholic awareness to these stories: modern Tolstoy.
Breathtaking and grim, I was halfway through the first story, "Killings," when I realized that it had been made into the film "In the Bedroom," which is the title of this collection, but there is no story here with that title. I loved most of the stories and appreciated the heartbreaking detail that Dubus can provide about ordinary people facing extraordinary emotional challenges.
Oct 21, 2012 Lauren rated it really liked it
This was my introduction to the author and quite an impressive collection. My favorite was the Winter Father, I thought it was bittersweet. "Rose" was disturbing and chilling. The author's take on passive silent people and their fate is spot on. I was glad I read all the stories altho some were better than others, but all were compelling.
Wendy Lu
Dec 04, 2013 Wendy Lu rated it really liked it
favorites: The Winter Father, and All the Time in the World

probably good for me to reread: The Fat Girl

its remarkable how intimate of a writer he is. he's very kind to his characters, and writes with a kind of compassion and live empathy i have not recently been able to treat people with.

unrelated, i'm really terrible at physics and i want to sleep all the time
Amy Hughes
Nov 30, 2007 Amy Hughes rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any one who lives in new england...and beyond
i really enjoyed this book of short stories. everyone of his characters is terribly flawed and human. each with a primary motivation but so many secondary layers which motivate them. i love that i know where each story is actually taking place since all the stories are located in Boston or the greater Boston area.

Sep 19, 2011 Brigid rated it really liked it
I was given this as an introduction to short stories, because I have not been a huge fan of them. I now like them. I would recommend this book but preface any recommendation by saying, please be in the mood for some dark stories.
Aug 18, 2012 kathryn rated it really liked it
Shelves: shortstories
yep. good collection. Some of the stories were interesting though in the context that I had read Andre Dubus III's memoir, Townie, which was very much about how absent his father, this author was, and many stories were about how much parents love their children and will do anything for them.
May 02, 2010 Sooz rated it really liked it
this is the next slim volume of stories to find it's way into my pocket, my gym bag, my shopping bag, to get pulled out while on a bus or waiting for an appointment. i've read In The Bedroom and one other. both were excellent.

a really good group of stories!
Jul 16, 2012 Paul rated it it was amazing
This is a selection of stories led by Killings, the story In the Bedroom is based on. All the stories here are great, but most of them are in Selected Stories. That is the book you shyould get instead.
Kris - My Novelesque Life

Honestly, I only read the title story because I enjoyed the film version and wanted to know more. A young man falls for an older woman who has an abusive ex. This sets off an explosive showdown. Tom Wilkinson was brilliant in the film.
Oct 18, 2011 Bill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I don't usually react emotionally to fiction. I did with this book. It broke my heart to read these stories, and the writing perfectly sets the scene and creates an atmosphere. I could actually feel these stories.
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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
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“The office was large, with many women and men at desks, and she learned their names, and presented to them an amiability she assumed upon entering the building. Often she felt that her smiles, and her feigned interest in people's anecdotes about commuting and complaints about colds, were an implicit and draining part of her job. A decade later she would know that spending time with people and being unable either to speak from her heart or to listen with it was an imperceptible bleeding of her spirit.” 8 likes
“When Jennifer was here in the summer, they were at the house most days. I would say generally that as they got older they became quieter, and though I enjoyed both, I sometimes missed the giggles and shouts. The quiet voices, just low enough for me not to hear from wherever I was, rising and failing in proportion to my distance from them, frightened me. Not that I believed they were planning or recounting anything really wicked, but there was a female seriousness about them, and it was secretive, and of course I thought: love, sex. But it was more than that: it was womanhood they were entering, the deep forest of it, and no matter how many women and men too are saying these days that there is little difference between us, the truth is that men find their way into that forest only on clearly marked trails, while women move about in it like birds. So hearing Jennifer and her friends talking so quietly, yet intensely, I wanted very much to have a wife.” 4 likes
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