Finding a Girl in America

Finding a Girl in America

Paperback

By (author) Andre Dubus

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  • Publisher: David R. Godine Publisher Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 216 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 206mm x 18mm | 204g
  • Publication date: 1 September 1994
  • Publication City/Country: Lincoln
  • ISBN 10: 0879233931
  • ISBN 13: 9780879233938
  • Edition statement: Reissue
  • Sales rank: 399,164

Product description

Set in Dubus's largely coastal New England world, these short works focus on the residual anguish and momentary elation of deep emotional attachments--between lovers, between parent and child, and between estranged spouses.

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Editorial reviews

Another collection of stories from a writer who doesn't seem to know quite what to do with his talents; as before, despite scenes and moments and perceptions that click, most of Dubus' stories seem either contrived, knottily formless, or just plain insubstantial. Violence, honor, and sex mix to no great effect in a quartet of mini-melodramas: a father's revenge killing (simplest and best of the group), a blind man's sexual interlude with a vicious criminal, a military malfeasor's getaway, a "townie" hustler's hate-soaked dealings with dormitoried students of both sexes. "The Misogamist" is another of Dubus' case histories - this time of a career soldier who flinches from marriage when he discovers that he prefers "a life with men, broken periodically by forgettable transactions with whores." (This character turns up briefly in another story, as the one-nightstand of a promiscuous but equally dreary war widow; Dubus' character-transplant device remains a mostly self-defeating one.) And the other pieces here - except for "The Pitcher," a fine baseball story (also in Prize Stories 1980, p. 228) - are from Dubus' often rewarding marriage/divorce documentary line: "The Winter Father" goes nowhere in particular, but its record of weekend parenting (including visits to a daytime jazz-nightclub for kids) is cool, precise tender, and funny; likewise "Delivery," which captures the way two young boys would really discuss their parents' crumbling marriage. The title novella, however, gives us the rundown on a college teacher's post-divorce love life in loose, oddly generalized detail (it'll remind you of dozens of other mid-life broodings on affairs with young women) - and Dubus' attempt to rig up an epiphany framework (the horrified hero finds out that a former mistress aborted their baby, which leads him to make a real commitment to his current girl) merely highlights the inherent shapelessness of the material. Dubus' strengths certainly remain visible - fine dialogue, neat powers of observation, a wry if rather stiff humor ("how could he spend much time with a woman who thought Chekhov was something boys did in their beds at night?") - but this erratic new collection mostly emphasizes his continuing problems in finding natural, satisfying shapings for his genuinely-felt but quite limited core material. (Kirkus Reviews)