Broken Vessels

Broken Vessels : Essays by Andre Dubus

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These 20 essays find Andre Dubus writing on such diverse subjects as his Catholic boyhood in a Cajun-Creole community in Louisiana to the transcendental qualities of baseball. He also writes descriptions of his children and his account of the 1986 car accident that cost him the use of his legs, and the ensuing struggle for his spiritual and physical survival. Dubus has been awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships and a MacArthur Fellowship in more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 130 x 197mm | 170g
  • Pan MacMillan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0330320092
  • 9780330320092

Review Text

In his first volume of nonfiction, short-story writer Dubus (The Last Worthless Tiring, 1986, etc.) reveals the passions, struggles, and strengths underlying his art, life, and arduous recovery from personal traded. Sparing few of life's messy details and contradictions, these 22 deeply personal essays, dating from 1977 to 1990 and strongly reminiscent of the author's fictional themes, offer an unflinching view of one man's search for truth. In "Of Robin Hood and Womanhood," a childhood tendency toward "angelic devotion to the female" yields slowly to an effort "to see women as they are...creatures like mc" "On Charon's Wharf" connects the mysteries of the Eucharist - "without touch, God is a monologue...he must touch and be touched" - to the dissolution of a marriage once words suffocate action. Here are the joys of writing and the frustrations of publishing (in five essays that move from childhood storytelling to a tribute to writer Richard Yates); the search for social justice ("The Judge and Other Snakes"); the pleasures and responsibilities of fatherhood (throughout). Here also are moments of shimmering lyricism, as in "Under the Lights," when a rare home-run ball hit by a Class C journeyman appears as "a bright and vanishing sphere of human possibility, soaring into the darkness beyond our vision." The last third of the book, a wrenching chronicle of loss and reaffirmation, deals with the highway accident that cost Dubus the use of his legs, the subsequent breakup of his third marriage, and the ensuing battle for physical and spiritual peace. We are left with a view of life as an overlapping sequence of stories, answering a "need to speak into the silence of mortality," informed by the quest for connection, the "sacrament" of "shared ritual" so ably served by this collection. A beautifully written, moving, and altogether wonderful book. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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339 ratings
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