This second book of short stories by Andre Dubus established him as a master of the genre in the lineage of Hemingway and Chekhov, even as its gritty truths and spiritual attentiveness served to set his voice apart. The opening stories focus on the fragile nature of youth, exemplified in struggles with a father, a friend, an enemy, and obesity. In part two, Dubus contends with more adult forms of discipline: the military, the police, and fate — and then leaves us with the most wrenching of all emotional challenges in the final novella, “Adultery.” Poignant as parables, alive as fiction, and compelling as pure narrative, these familiar stories never fail to entertain while, at the same time, leaving the reader breathless with the immediacy and depth of real life in real America.
The title story alone will make it worth your while to go out and get the book.
— New York Times Book Review
[Adultery] is a stunning vision of loss, domination and redemption, and Andre Dubus is a wonderful writer.
All his work is informed by a quality rare in fiction: compassion.
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
Dubus controls his voice tightly, and the observations he chooses to release to us, while seemingly random and often light-hearted, have beneath them almost a wild, frantic quality.