Holly's Reviews > Townie

Townie by Andre Dubus III
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Jul 06, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-reads
Read from July 06 to 17, 2012

I read this book slowly and even stopped for several days at the halfway point (Part II: River, Fist, and Bone) before returning to it. But not because I didn't like it; it was just too powerful and too long to be absorbed at my usual reading pace. . . Dubus's harrowing adolescent years and his gradual turn to writing - how he learns to transmute the energy into understanding other people . . I've heard this guy in interviews and he seems like a cool, interesting, compassionate person. But it's the violence that gives the story its shape and arc (not just boxing but murderous bar fights and street attacks and barely-contained, maladapted, misdirected rage) - I have never sought out writing about fighting but I can't imagine other literary treatments that do a better job of capturing the feeling of this. And after all that one reads the scene near the end on the train in which Dubus tries to protect sleeping children without throwing a single punch - this is gripping. Although I've heard Dubus say in interviews that this is not a book "about" his father, there is a lot of father-thought here, and the father-son relationship is central, so anyone interested in Andre Dubus père will be grateful for these meditations. I found myself with tears in my eyes several times over the last 50 pages.
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08/13/2016 marked as: read

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