A New York Times editors' choice, "Townie," by "House of Sand and Fog" author Andre Dubus III has been written about everywhere. Trying to decide whether or not to dive in?
Here's what people are saying about it:
From Culture Map:
To read Townie is to know the blood, muscle, and bone of the body. The book begins with a teenaged Andre, a child of divorce, making a 10-mile run with his acclaimed short story writer father, the co-owner of the name Andre Dubus. The young, novice runner wears his sister's shoe, two sizes too small for him, since he has no sneakers of his own, and ends the run exhilarated, but with battered and bloody feet.
From The Washington Post:
Dubus grew up weak and small and poor and cowering in the rough mill towns north of Boston. His father, the much-loved short-story writer Andre Dubus II, walked out on a young wife and family to pursue his craft and girlfriends, and from then on the four kids were basically on their own with the thugs, drug dealers and budding sadists who infested Newburyport and Haverhill.
When Andre Dubus III was 14, the older brother of a neighborhood girl stormed over to his family's row house in an old mill town in Massachusetts. Dubus' 13-year-old brother, Jeb, had been fooling around with the girl, and now her brother, on leave from the Army, intended to punish him for the presumption. What happened next became totemic in Dubus' memory: The beefy M.P. punched Jeb twice, and when the boys' mother came out of house to chase him away, he called her a whore. Dubus himself stood transfixed, "my feet were bolted to the concrete, my arms just tubes of air, my heart pounding somewhere high over my head."
From The Statesman:
Dubus has the linguistic talent to draw the reader into the depravations of neglect -- there's no other word for it -- as he and his two sisters and brother experience premature initiation into drugs, drinking, sex and violence, their mother being too exhausted from her job to cook for them or provide an alternative to TV. But Dubus never blames his mother; she did the best she could -- look how well the children, holding advanced degrees and pursuing creative professions, turned out! And their father, after a highway accident in which both his legs are crushed, is also redeemed. He's there for Dubus as a young writer, even if he wasn't there for him as a child.