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The Times Are Never So Bad

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  203 ratings  ·  18 reviews
The focus of this collection, which includes the often praised tale "A Father's Story," as well as the novella "the Pretty Girl," is on the twisting deformations of love, on domestic disturbances, and on marriages whose sanctity can no longer bind them.
Paperback, 180 pages
Published December 1st 1991 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published July 1st 1983)
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Apr 01, 2013 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Brian by: Kris
Andre Dubus is a master of short fiction. His characters, all of them, have emotional weight and importance. It is almost impossible to make secondary characters in a short story flushed; Dubus does it so effortlessly he makes it look easy. It isn't.

As much as I like many of Updike's short stories there are times when his characters are completely inaccessible to me. Dubus' writing is as good as Updike's, but I'm never reading about someone with whom I can't relate. In this collection, all wonde
Rebecca Smith
The Times Are Never So Bad was published in 1983 by David R. Godine, Publisher, Inc. Andre Dubus filled his book with stories about average people. Though this made the characters a bit more relatable, it didn’t make for such an exciting read.
Each story was well written and the use of imagery was effective, but they were only as effective as the subject matter could take them. I found myself having to reread many of the stories because my attention was not being held enough to know what was hap
Daniel DiStefano
This collection, although not as good to me as his final collection "Dancing After Hours," is still a potent and altogether impressive bunch of stories. I did not find the novella "The Pretty Girl" as compelling as people like Joyce Carol Oates did ("May be the most compelling and suspenseful work of fiction he has written"), but perhaps I can chalk this up to an organizational flaw. Starting the collection with it felt a bit much and I found myself waiting for it to just be over so I could get ...more
Chosen because of the title. I am familiar with the Dubuses (both I and III) and I love the fatalism both writers evoke... it translates superbly unto screen (..."House of Sand and Fog" [Dubus III:], "In the Bedroom," "We Don't Live Here Anymore"...). This collection of shorties does everything possible to dispell the thesis: "The Times Are Never So Bad." Yeah- the times are bareable...barely. What makes these so >well written< is the fact that saddness is never given a name... everything ...more
David R.  Godine
" 'The Pretty Girl' . . . may be the most compelling and suspenseful work of fiction [Dubus:] has written."
— Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review

"For the lyricism and directness of his language, the richness and precision of his observation, he is among the best short-story writers in America."
— Judith Levine, The Village Voice

"Mr. Dubus 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; without mora
I found the first several stories really boring and writerly - understated, mildly symbolic, sparse with language in that Iowa Workshop, post-Hemmingway way. But the end story, "A Father's Story" is fantastic. He spends an excessive amount of time building the character, and you begin to feel you know him, then he puts that character into a shocking situation, just when you've come to feel that it was going to be only a character sketch. The experience is something like life - I want to be a cha ...more
The first (The Pretty Girl) and the last (A Father's Story) were both very good. Most of the other stories, while realistic and stylish, were not engaging. Having just completed a set of John Irving short stories, which I felt were far superior, I was a little dissappointed in Dubus' stories.
short stories allegedly about our/human efforts to forgive ourselves and one another about our "inevitable' tresspasses. i found the characters not sympathetic: violent men with flaws of alcoholism and domestic abuse...perhaps less forgiveness and more change and insight?
Dubus continues to be THE BEST READ I can get from any book. and I LOVE books. He is a genius. I love his style, the naturalness of his characters, the flow of his stories. I am reading everything I can get my hands by both Dubus', father and son.
I did a semester of studying Andre Dubus in college. His writing is raw, thought provoking and riddled with life lessons.
In these stories, especially the novella,
the times are, indeed, very bad!
Not my favorite of his collections. Dancing After Hours was great, though.
bobherzog zog
His best because of "The Pretty Girl," a classic short story.
I liked all of the stories except The Captain
Re-read. "A Father's Story" kills me. Ah.
One of my favorite books of all time.
sad, but SO GOOD. SO GOOD!
Nov 04, 2007 Abraham rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers
be prepared
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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...
Selected Stories Dancing After Hours In the Bedroom: Seven Stories We Don't Live Here Anymore Meditations from a Movable Chair

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