The Cross Country Runner brings together Andre Dubus’s fifth collection of short stories and novellas, The Last Worthless Evening, and Voices from the Moon—his longest, most masterful novella—with previously uncollected stories, and a new introduction by PEN Faulkner Award-winning author Tobias Wolff.
“It’s divorce that did it,” his father had said last night. So begins Voices from the Moon, the 126-page novella that shows Dubus at the height of his empathetic powers: the story alternates between the viewpoints of Richie Stowe, a serious twelve-year-old who plans to become a priest, and the five other members of his family; it takes place over the course of a single day.
The four novellas and two stories of The Last Worthless Evening range further than in any previous Dubus collection: racial tension in the Navy; a detective story homage; a Hispanic shortstop; the unlikely pairing of an eleven-year-old kid and a dangerous Vietnam vet.
Finally, this third volume in the series draws together for the first time many of Dubus’s previously uncollected stories, including work from the mid-1960s and the late 1990s.
The earliest story appearing here in book form for the first time— “The Cross Country Runner”—was first published in the long-defunct Midwestern University Quarterly in 1966 when Dubus was 30 years old and only recently graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
The final story—the western-themed “Sisters”—is the last piece of fiction Dubus was working on when he died suddenly in 1999 at just 63 years old.
How rare it is these days to encounter characters with wills, with a sense of choice. — John Updike on Voices from the Moon, New Yorker
“Rose,” by itself, is worth the price of the book; it is the most powerful entry in Dubus’s impressive canon. — Time on The Last Worthless Evening
[The] three volumes reaffirm Dubus’s status as master…[as] unparalleled excavator of the heart and its pains, its longings, its errors, its thumping against the constant threat of grief, despair, and loneliness. —Nina MacLaughlin, The Paris Review
“…the language of [Dubus’s] stories is at the service of something outside itself … often we forget we are reading sentences but are put rather into more direct connection with the character’s thoughts and feelings.” – William Pritchard, The Boston Globe