The world has known may great writers and standing tall among them are Andre Dubus III (House of Sand and Fog) and his father, Andre Dubus II. This searing first-person memoir is not only a testament to redemption but also reveals a great deal about the creative processes of both father and son.
Seldom has a memorist been so unsparing in writing about his regrets as Dubus who with TOWNIE often focuses on the violence that was once so much a part of his life. When his parents divorced in the 1970s the four Dubus offspring were thrown into an unknown, unanticipated world. One sister withdrew, locked herself in her room, another learned to deal drugs and was later gang raped, his younger brother had an affair with an older teacher. They lived in a series of more than dismal apartments with their work worn mother. There was no release at school where fights erupted frequently with the other kids shouting, "Kill him! Kill him!"
In the poor Massachusetts mill town where they lived the Dubus children were taunted, teased without mercy. Evidently Dubus saw himself as the family protector and to this end began body building and learning how to fight. Perhaps originally this was a noble endeavor, but it soon became more - a way of life in which he actually enjoyed inflicting violence on another, felt exhilarated after doing so. Nothing good could ever come of this.
Fortunately, Dubus turned to writing, found an outlet in words. This was a revelation to him and a welcome one as it probably saved his life. Today he is a family man, and a professor just as was his father. TOWNIE is the story of one man who overcame almost impossible obstacles to find peace and love.
To hear the story in the author's own voice is a rare privilege, and brings added profundity to the thoughts he so fearlessly shares.
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Gail Cooke (Gail_Cooke)
Nov 1, 2008
Aug 19, 2012 07:37 PM UTC
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