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Gone So Long
Cover of Gone So Long
Gone So Long
A Novel

"Taut with tension.... [E]nding with a hint of hope."—Rob Merrill, Associated Press

Cathartic, affirming, and steeped in the empathy and precise observations of character for which Dubus is celebrated, Gone So Long explores how the wounds of the past afflict the people we become.

Gone So Long is a riveting family drama about an ex-con who did time for murder, the estranged daughter he hasn't seen in forty years, and the grandmother angry enough to kill him. A profound exploration of the struggle between the selves we wish to be, and the ones—shaped by chance and circumstance, as well as character—that we can't escape, it confirms Andre Dubus's reputation as a novelist whose "compassion is unsentimental and unblinking, total and unwavering" (Paul Harding).

"Taut with tension.... [E]nding with a hint of hope."—Rob Merrill, Associated Press

Cathartic, affirming, and steeped in the empathy and precise observations of character for which Dubus is celebrated, Gone So Long explores how the wounds of the past afflict the people we become.

Gone So Long is a riveting family drama about an ex-con who did time for murder, the estranged daughter he hasn't seen in forty years, and the grandmother angry enough to kill him. A profound exploration of the struggle between the selves we wish to be, and the ones—shaped by chance and circumstance, as well as character—that we can't escape, it confirms Andre Dubus's reputation as a novelist whose "compassion is unsentimental and unblinking, total and unwavering" (Paul Harding).

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About the Author-
  • Andre Dubus III is the author of Gone So Long, Dirty Love, The Garden of Last Days, House of Sand and Fog (a #1 New York Times bestseller, Oprah's Book Club pick, and finalist for the National Book Award), and Townie, winner of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His writing has received many honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Magazine Award, and two Pushcart Prizes. He lives with his family north of Boston.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2018
    An ex-convict in his 60s pays a visit to the daughter he hasn't seen since the night he murdered her mother in 1973.Danny "The Sound" Ahearn was "head DJ in the glass booth on the Himalaya ride, the job every young man on the beach would bleed for." Linda Dubie was the sweet, sexy daughter of the guy who owned the Penny Arcade in their beach town north of Boston. Their insatiable hunger for each other led to marriage, then to the birth of a baby girl they called Suzie Woo Woo, and finally, one night when their daughter was 3, a jealous rage with irrevocable consequences. Linda's mother, Lois, sold the arcade and moved with her granddaughter, Suzie, to Florida, where she became an antiques dealer. Now in her early 40s, Susan is married to a kind man named Bobby Dunn. She teaches college English and is working on a memoir of her childhood, draft sections of which are included here. What Susan doesn't know is that her now ailing father is putting things in order, writing his will, and setting off down the East Coast in hopes of seeing her once more before he dies. Dubus (Dirty Love, 2013, etc.) puts this pot on a very slow boil, continuing to fill in the backstory as he inches the characters toward their climactic meeting, some of them carrying firearms. Grim, hopeless situations are this author's specialty, but the care he takes in the emotional development of his flawed characters buoys them against the undertow. Danny Ahearn is a uniquely sympathetic murderer, and the window we are given into Susan's memories and emotions through drafts and excerpts from her memoir brings us very close to her as well.Dubus is in his gritty wheelhouse, exploring the question of how we live with our mistakes and whether we can ever stop adding to them.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 6, 2018
    Dubus (Townie) renders this story of love, jealousy, guilt, and atonement in a voice that rings with authenticity and evokes the texture of working-class lives. Danny Ahern and Linda Dubie grow up in the same town north of Boston. As teenagers, Danny is awkward and unattractive, while Linda is beautiful and smart. Their love affair and marriage is a blue-collar Beauty and the Beast, but Danny’s wild love for his wife turns to jealousy and fear that she will leave him. When that seems imminent, he fatally stabs her in a moment of madness, while their three-year-old daughter, Susan, looks on uncomprehendingly. Danny goes to prison, and Susan is raised by her maternal grandmother, a woman locked in hatred and bitterness about her daughter’s tragic demise. After a terminally ill Danny is released 40 years later, he hopes to find Susan. Susan, meanwhile, has never been able to feel real love, and even in her marriage to a kind and understanding man, she is trapped in self-doubt and depression. As the aftereffects of the murder continue to reverberate through their lives, events move to a climax during a hot night in Florida where Susan, newly pregnant, and her father finally confront each other. Though the entire cast is vividly drawn, perhaps most impressive is how Dubus elicits sympathy in the reader for Danny, whose life effectively ended the moment he picked up the knife. This is a compassionate and wonderful novel.

  • Booklist

    August 1, 2018
    Gifted storyteller Dubus follows his short story collection, Dirty Love (2013), with his first novel in 10 years, which finds adjunct composition professor Susan Dunn taking some time away from her husband, Bobby, ostensibly to work on the book that has long eluded her. While staying with her grandmother Lois, Susan begins to unravel the suppressed emotional trauma she experienced when her father killed her mother in a fit of jealous rage when Susan was just three years old. Her father, Daniel Ahearn, in an advanced stage of prostate cancer, wishes to see Susan before he dies, seeking forgiveness for the violent act that has haunted him for 40 years. Dubus evokes a dazzling palette of emotions as he skillfully unpacks the psychological tensions between remorse and guilt, fear and forgiveness, anger and love. Susan, Daniel, and Lois are fully realized and authentic characters who live with pain and heartache while struggling to fill the tremendous void created by the tragedy. Heartrending yet unsentimental, this powerful testament to the human spirit asks what it means to atone for the unforgivable and to empathize with the broken.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from September 1, 2018

    Perhaps best known for the novel House of Sand and Fog, a National Book Award finalist later adapted into a film of the same name, Dubus also authored the 2011 memoir Townie, which details his violent childhood and estrangement from his father. Echoing Townie, this new novel unfolds around Daniel Ahern, imprisoned for murdering his wife in a jealous rage, and his estranged daughter, Susan, who witnessed the crime at a young age. Upon his release from prison, Daniel reflects on how his violent tendencies reflect his own childhood and yearns to reconnect with his daughter. Meanwhile, Susan begins a novel to unpack years of trauma and finds her thoughts drifting toward her absentee father. When Daniel finally tracks her down, Susan is awash in feelings of pity and rage toward a father who abandoned her. Dubus masterfully employs minimal dialog between the two characters, underscoring how reunification often manifests as a temporary dissolution of thoughts and words. VERDICT A dark and exquisitely crafted novel that views parental relationships as both a form of inherited violence and redemptive empathy. [See Prepub Alert, 40/30/18.]--Joshua Finnell, Colgate Univ., Hamilton, NY

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2018

    House of Sand and Fog author Dubus returns with the story of Susan Dunn, a hapless adjunct professor who cannot complete her novel or return her husband's love. What's worse, her father murdered her mother when Susan was young and now, released from prison and dying, wants to meet.

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Bill Kelly;Booklist Dubus evokes a dazzling palette of emotions as he skillfully unpacks the psychological tensions between remorse and guilt, fear and forgiveness, anger and love. Susan, Daniel, and Lois are fully realized and authentic characters who live with pain and heartache while struggling to fill the tremendous void created by the tragedy. Heartrending yet unsentimental, this powerful testament to the human spirit asks what it means to atone for the unforgivable and to empathize with the broken.
  • National Book Review [Dubus] brings a light touch to questions of morality and justice and moves delicately between seaside New England and swampy Florida, infusing life into the characters in this heartbreaking novel.
  • Phil Klay, National Book Award–winning author of Redeployment I tore through this haunting novel about people driven by pain beyond the reach of love and forgiveness, and the roads they use as they seek their way back. It hits just the right note at the end, and I'll be thinking about Susan a long time. A hell of a read.
  • Laura Collins-Hughes;Boston Globe Full of ghosts and regrets and glimmering shards of excavated memory, Gone So Long is about destruction and redemption and the stupid, stubborn way people have of squandering love.
  • Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Tinkers Well, he's done it again, hasn't he? What a gorgeous heartbreaker of a book. Dubus's compassion is unsentimental and unblinking, total and unwavering. That and sheer artistry makes Gone So Long dark and radiant, beautiful and never to be forgotten.
  • Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge Gone So Long is an astonishment. I love this book so much, the humanity in it. I love every single person in it, they are so real, these people—I know them and love them all. I wept for them, I did. Dubus is just so good and real and true, he doesn't pull one sentimental punch the whole time—extraordinary. I thought about those people as I was walking down the sidewalk, and they are inside me as well, not just thoughts that go by. I love this book to pieces.
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) Dubus (Townie) renders this story of love, jealousy, guilt, and atonement in a voice that rings with authenticity and evokes the texture of working-class lives.... This is a compassionate and wonderful novel.
  • Kevin Canfield;Star Tribune The people at the heart of this novel feel intensely real. That's because Dubus has the imagination, patience and empathy to make them so.
  • Kirkus Reviews Dubus is in his gritty wheelhouse, exploring the question of how we live with our mistakes and whether we can ever stop adding to them.
  • Chloe Schama;Vogue Andre Dubus III has made a name for himself as a kind of poet of violence—a dubious accolade, to be sure—a writer who vibrantly captures a kind of hardscrabble New England living that's not rough around the edges, it's just rough.
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A Novel
Andre Dubus III
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