Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.
Today’s feature is a recent acquisition: Gone So Long, by Andre Dubus III: his first novel in a decade is a masterpiece of thrilling tension and heartrending empathy.
Intro: My father’s parole officer had an office above a shoe store in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The street was a wide two-lane of sparse traffic, cars parked in front of parking meters built in the 1950s, and the buildings on both sides were made of the same red brick as the mills along the river. There were rectangular blocks of granite above each window, the roofs flat, and on the first floors were one shop after another, leather goods and a bakery, an office supply next to an Army and Navy outlet next to a jewelry store, its display window a dusty glass case whose shelves held little.
Teaser: The dealer’s shop is in an old warehouse on the river, its parking lot half asphalt, half rain-rutted gravel, and Daniel stays on the asphalt as he backs his Tacoma slowly into the bay. The dealer steps out of his small office. (p. 142).
Synopsis: Daniel Ahearn lives a quiet, solitary existence in a seaside New England town. Forty years ago, following a shocking act of impulsive violence on his part, his daughter, Susan, was ripped from his arms by police. Now in her forties, Susan still suffers from the trauma of a night she doesn’t remember, as she struggles to feel settled, to love a man and create something that lasts. Lois, her maternal grandmother who raised her, tries to find peace in her antique shop in a quaint Florida town but cannot escape her own anger, bitterness, and fear.
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, and probes the limits of recovery and absolution.
What do you think? I loved a previous book by this author, House of Sand and Fog, so I was eager to delve into this one.