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Dirty Love (2013)

by Andre Dubus III

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2852581,902 (3.63)23
A collection of short stories examining the lives of suburbanites seeking solace and gratification in food, sex, work, and love.
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» See also 23 mentions

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Does what fiction should do: makes me look at life more closely and makes me feel a little more alive too. ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
This guy. Andre Dubus III. This guy can write.

I've read authors that create great, deep, layered characters. I've read authors that dive into the human condition. I've read authors that made me feel.

But what Dubus does is a whole other level of magic. His plots are quiet, simmering things. You won't see explosions and fist fights here. Where other others speak, yell, lecture, and scream, Dubus whispers.

So you have to listen a little closer, you have to pay a bit more attention. But the payoff is worth it. Because he won't just give you deep, layered characters, he won't just dive into the human condition, he won't just make you feel...he'll also take you so deep into the characters that you know their soul with the intimacy of a lover.

I can't explain it any better than that. Read him. Read anything he's written. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
I started Andre Dubus III's HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG years ago and had to put it down because well, library needs their books back. I did not get to finish it, but I'm glad First Reads gave me the chance to read (and actually finish!) a book by him, because he is a brilliant author and well worth the wait.

DIRTY LOVE, Dubus' latest novel, is a collection of stories that are marginally related - characters who were the center of one story are referenced in other stories' periphery. It's a seemingly claustrophobic world where love is complicated, people are inherently flawed, and life is never fair. There are some characters you find yourself feeling sympathy for even as you despise their every action. There are other characters that you wish would somehow walk into a better, brighter world than the one they currently live in, because they deserve better.

I found Dubus' study of human relationships and romance to be an incredibly emotional and at times difficult read. A lot of the stories left me melancholy and undone, helped by the fact that stories just ended, lacking actual closure for any of the characters involved. Some people walked away from their problems. Some people plunged further into the abyss. Others closed their eyes and hoped for the best. No one emerges from Dubus' writing unscathed, untouched by the events of their own stories.

I can see why some people might not enjoy DIRTY LOVE as much as I did. There aren't many likeable characters, some of the events seem hopelessly melodramatic, and the lack of actual resolution can throw some people off. But if you come into DIRTY LOVE expecting a dark, jaded view on love and sex and human nature, then you'll probably come out of it satisfied with what you've found.

Note: This book is an advance reading copy (ARC) and was given to me through W. W. Norton & Company and the Goodreads' First Reads program. I received no monetary compensation for the writing of this review. ( )
  sarahlh | Mar 6, 2021 |
Beautifully written, but so very depressing! This collection of novellas submerges the reader in the darkest aspects of what it means to love. Beware of this painful journey! ( )
  hemlokgang | Dec 31, 2017 |
I checked this out of the library after having been blown away by Dubus' novel THE HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG. This collection consists of four novellas, but I only read the first two and half of the third. (Or maybe all of the third and part of the fourth).
No particular reason for not finishing the book. What I did read was very good. I just got distracted by other books. ( )
  dickmanikowski | Sep 18, 2017 |
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A collection of short stories examining the lives of suburbanites seeking solace and gratification in food, sex, work, and love.

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