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    The Times are Never So Bad: A Novella and Eight Short Stories (Paperback) By (author) Andre Dubus

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    The Times are Never So Bad
    A Novella and Eight Short Stories
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Andre Dubus
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 192
    Width: 140 mm
    Height: 208 mm
    Thickness: 16 mm
    Weight: 259 g
    ISBN 13: 9780879236410
    ISBN 10: 0879236418

    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: F1.2
    DC20: 813.54
    BIC subject category V2: FA, FYB
    B&T General Subject: 360
    B&T Book Type: FI
    DC22: FIC
    B&T Merchandise Category: TXT
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 21110
    Ingram Subject Code: FC
    Libri: I-FC
    BISAC V2.8: FIC000000, FIC029000
    Edition statement
    David R. Godine Publisher Inc
    Imprint name
    David R. Godine Publisher Inc
    Publication date
    01 July 1993
    Publication City/Country
    Review text
    All of Dubus' writerly strengths are exhibited in this fourth, most impressive collection of his stories - as are some of his less significant weaknesses. Again he displays a knack for images tailored to the status and situation of the character: in "The Pretty Girl," a young woman takes revenge after being raped by her ex-husband - a man whose thoughts are captured in vivid plain-poetry. ("There are things you can do in the daytime that make you feel like your marriage isn't a cage with rattlesnakes on the floor"; "You do some things you wish you hadn't, and thinking about them afterward doesn't do any good for anybody, and you just feel like your heart has the flu.") Elsewhere, Dubus - like de Maupassant - is controlled enough to take just the right approach, neither condescending nor ennobling, to small-scale yearnings: in "Anna," a young married couple (she a clerk, he a hamburger-turner at Wendy's) rob a drugstore for $2,000, only to realize that "There's too much to get" - that if their expectations are small, their dreams are even smaller, overwhelmed when put to the test. And the three best stories demonstrate Dubus' charity, a generosity that allows him to encircle complex, ambivalent feelings: in "Bless Me, Father," a co-ed has a confrontation with her adulterous father, which leads to mutual confessions and vicious mutual sell-outs; in "Goodbye," a father is unable to leave the bar for his son's last dinner at home before going off to the Marines; and, most outstandingly, "A Father's Story" presents a thoughtful and ethical Catholic who is forced to cover up his daughter's hit-and-run killing of a pedestrian. True, Dubus' flaws are here too: a C&W-like sentimentality ("The Captain"); occasional strangling sentences; an over-reliance on italics and knives. Yet, for the most part, this is Dubus at his best - embracing his Catholic subject-matter more emphatically than before, emerging more clearly as a super-realist who operates not from the outside (like Ann Beattie) but from within the hearts of his un-cool, emotional people. In all: intense, credible, often very moving work. (Kirkus Reviews)