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Selected Stories

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  2,862 ratings  ·  142 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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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,862 ratings  ·  142 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
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
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.
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
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was raining in Vermont so I stopped at a bookstore outside Middlebury. I had been keeping my eye out for a Dubus copy since reading about him in the Paris Review. I found his Selected Stories and nestled into a plastic armchair in a corner to wait out the rain and the morning. As I read, my soul began to bleed out onto the floor. Then a group of masked men appeared and vacuumed up my soul. They poured the divine liquid into a square freezer box. Once it was frozen solid, they took my soul out ...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.
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.
Jason M.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jason M. by:
Wonderul. Absolutely freaking wonderful.
Donna Kirk
he's kind of a creep.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Keegan Gore
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
When the stories in here are good they are fucking good. Some of the stories in this collection are among some of the most emotionally complex peices of fiction ive ever read. There is no denying Dubus writes with a staggering amount of empathy. Undoubtedly he is nothing short of a master. However, there were far too many stories in here about baseball and Catholicism. Perhaps because im not a fan of either ( not hating though) i couldn't get into some these stories. Maybe if i grew up in Boston ...more
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a pleasant read diving into the dark and scary parts of life. The content matter was fruitful, the characters were dynamic, and the endings were nonsensical as hell. Dubus was a deep and beautiful spirit appealing to both the stubborn and the free hearted by making stories relating to everyday, real life problems and real life blessings. Overall, I would say this is a must read for the upcoming generations to link them with problems that were faced nationwide by everyday peopl ...more
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really great stuff, I read his kid's book a few back and enjoyed it as well. Dubus' short stories (i guess that's all he wrote?) I had never read him before but I know he was a contemporary of Yates so I figured he'd have some nice early baby-boom misery in his stories. There wasn't a distinctive style that stuck out (like a Saunders or a Carver), the stories we just extremely well written. One that really stuck out was "adultery part 3." - maybe the only story not set in Louisiana or NE Mass. I ...more
William Thornton
A treasure of stories.

This collection was my introduction to Dubus, and I can't wait to read more. Insightful, thought provoking, wonderful character development without prejudice or judgement. Not a bad story in the entire collection. If you have not discovered Dubus, and you like beautiful writing, this is a good place to start.
Circle of Hope Pastors
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The work of short story writer Andre Dubus Sr. was very influential in helping sustain and deepen my faith. Standouts among his stories are 'A Father's Story' and the novella 'Voices from the Moon.' -- Danielle Collins
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Author is a master of the short story. The book is huge--took me months to finish it.
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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
“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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