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Selected Stories

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  2,993 ratings  ·  156 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, 476 pages
Published December 4th 1995 by Vintage (first published 1988)
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  2,993 ratings  ·  156 reviews

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Glenn Russell
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Andre Dubus 1936-1999, Storyteller par exellence

Many of us involved with books – reading books, writing books, reviewing books - are well aware fiction writing is a unique calling. Therefore, it is something special when both father and son are accomplished authors. Kingsley Amis and son Martin come immediately to mind as do John Updike and son David; actually, we might think of another father-son fiction writing duo: Andre Dubus and son Andre Dubus 111, author of House of Sand and Fog.

This coll
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
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
Oct 09, 2007 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.
Rick Slane reads more reviews less
I lost interest in the stories 2/3 of the way through. There were a lot of Catholic guilt, sex, and relationship stories taking place sometimes in New England and sometimes in the Bayou.
Chris Gager
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Picked this one off my abundant shelves(I got even more books today from the transfer station!) and read the first story last night. My first awareness of the writer came from reading about the movie version of "In the Bedroom" a few years ago. I MAY have read something(s) of his in The New Yorker. Goodreads is acting up right now and I'm getting PISSED OFF! Screw it.

1 - "Miranda Over the Valley" - a mournful take on the risks of love and sex. Be careful out there! Includes a few words borrowed
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
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
Liina Haabu
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, short-stories
One star deducted only because all the stories were so grim that after a while I found myself avoiding the book although the writing itself is without any wavering - simply brilliant at all times.

Andre Dubus is a writer I hadn't read before. I was tipped off by Richard Yates biography - Dubus was his student at Iowa. I am a great admirer of Yates and thought that this is probably as grim as it gets.

Apparently not. Every story of the 23 in Dubus Selected Stories deals either with murder, rape,
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
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. ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Jun 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jason M.
Wonderul. Absolutely freaking wonderful.
Donna Kirk
he's kind of a creep. ...more
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Some of these are five plus stars: Miranda over the Valley; the Pretty Girl; the Fat Girl; Rose; Adultery; A Father's story. ...more
Julie Demboski
Aug 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I would describe this as old-school literary fiction: imbued with the author's viewpoint and life experience, saturated with his spiritual outlook (in this case, Roman Catholicism), expressed from a white male point of view in a conventional white male world. That said, Dubus has a wonderful and distinctive voice; there's a rhythm to his writing that is lyrical without being flowery. And he has the unusual virtue for a male writer of being highly sympathetic toward women in the sense of seeing t ...more
Having read "Killings" multiple times over the years and never failing to be moved by it, I had expectations of a similar emotional response to the rest of the stories contained in this selection. There is no question of the excellence of Dubus' writing. The influence of Cheever, Chekov and Hemingway in both style and content is abundant. What lost me were the issues on which the (in)actions of the characters revolved; premarital sex, pregnancy/abortion, jaded parents, domestic abuse, petty crim ...more
Benjamin Inks
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Gah, this dude is dope! He's like an urban Hemingway from another dimension! ...more
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
"...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
Patrick Faller
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Caspar Peek
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Sir He-Man
Mar 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I know that he's gotten a lot of acclaim. I just can't find room in my heart for this, the only book of his I've read. Pointless character studies abound, mostly they are slice of life stories. Nicely written at times, but still...gah. There is one story about a janitor that is perhaps one of the most boring things I've ever read. Is he lucid? Mostly. He is the next Chekhov? No. NO. ...more
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Andre Dubus is one of the most talented writers I have ever read. His mastery of the short story form of story telling is astonishing. He also gets dark and goes deep into the human psyche to tell tales of suffering and wounded humans. His stories are worth the deep dive.
But so much baseball in this collection!?
Alissa Hattman
Jul 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Dubus' characters are original and his sentences are smart, well-crafted and direct. He writes generously and realistically about pain and hope in such stories as: “The Pretty Girl,” “If They Knew Yvonne,” “The Fat Girl,” “Adultery,” and “A Father's Story.” A strong collection of stories.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Just my kind of book. I usually choose to read women writers; yes, I know, I'm prejudiced. I've found that most men writers are plot driven. But this guy "gets" nuance, quiet desperation, inner thoughts. Think Alice Munro, Carol Shields, Ann Patchett. ...more
Aug 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is simply my most favorite short story collection ("A Father's Story" - read it) by one of my favorite authors. ...more
Lauren Davis
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Master of the short story form. Wonderful reading.
Midwest Geek
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This edition contains a number of entries that are well-known and often included in other compendiums and anthologies. (Sorry, I didn’t find a listing of the 23 items online.) It would have been helpful if the publisher had indicated when and where each item had first appeared, if elsewhere. I’ll fill in some of that information below. No spoilers here:

The book contains two novellas: “The Pretty Girl,” which was first published in 1983 in his collection The Times Are Never So Bad: A Novella and
Melissa Stacy
This is an outstanding collection.

Andre Dubus II. Holy freaking WOW. What an incredible writer.

The first story I read in this book was "The Winter Father." It turned out to be a very difficult story for me. I worried I couldn't keep reading this book, my stress level hit such a high level. Because I knew, with each page I turned, that the author was writing his own life when he penned this story. I read Andre Dubus II as the character of the divorced father in this particular tale, struggling to
Tim Nason
Dec 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
October 10, 1999 – Dubus's characters endure unplanned pregnancy, divorce, childraising, childhood, bodily functions, death in the family, drinking, smoking, adultery. Here is life as we know it, portrayed with tones of brute stoicism.

The stories are long, hypnotic in detail, relentless in dull acceptance. Life-changing crises are parried with a phone call, a long drink, a calm smoke, peeing then wiping. My question is, who cares?

I yearn for a sense of exchange, dialogue, identity that is necess
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After having read this collection of stories, I consider Andre Dubus a master. The stories often take unexpected turns, revealing some essential truth or reality that arises organically from what preceded it. Similar, I believe, to the epiphanies experienced by characters in Joyce's Dubliners. Dubus often writes about struggling people in New England mill towns near the Merrimac River: wounded families, drunks, thieves, living out their lives in a recognizable world of spiritual isolation. Dubus ...more
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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 “Kil ...more

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“we don’t have to live great lives, we just have to understand and survive the ones we’ve got.” 9 likes
“It is not hard to live through a day, if you can live through a moment. What creates despair is the imagination, which pretends there is a future, and insists on predicting millions of moments, thousands of days, and so drains you that you cannot live the moment at hand. ("A Father's Story")” 3 likes
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