The Times Are Never So Bad

Another classic Dubus collection of men and women attempting to live together, to tell the truth as they see it (or don’t see it), and to survive the crises, and sometimes the violence, of domestic life. The focus of this collection, which includes the often praised tale “A Father’s Story,” as well as the novella “The Pretty Girl,” is on the twisting deformations of love, on domestic disturbances, and on marriages whose sanctity can no longer bind them.

” ‘The Pretty Girl’ . . . may be the most compelling and suspenseful work of fiction [Dubus] has written.”
— Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review

“For the lyricism and directness of his language, the richness and precision of his observation, he is among the best short-story writers in America.”
— Judith Levine, The Village Voice

“Mr. Dubus is a shrewd student of people who come to accept pain as a fair price for pleasure, and to view right and wrong as a matter of degree; without moralizing, he suggests that their self-inflicted punishments are often worse that what a just court, or a just God, would decree.”
— John Updike, The New Yorker

“It is a world of secrets,” says the narrator of ‘A Father’s Story.’ Andre Dubus’s fine new collection is made of those secrets, observed with an art that is luminous with honesty and generosity. Dubus is interested in essential things – in the shadowy powers that circle our lives and the slender resources of faith and love with which we try to keep them at bay.”
— Tobias Wolff

Andre Dubus was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana to a Cajun-Irish Catholic family. He graduated from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and later moved to Massachusetts, where he taught creative writing at Bradford College. His life was marked with personal tragedies, as are those of his protagonists – ostensibly ordinary men who are drawn to addiction and violence as methods to distract themselves from their woes. Unlike his characters, however, Dubus eventually found success and repute, as well as the corresponding offers from large publishers. He nevertheless remained loyal to Godine until the end of his career.