Gone So Long: Book summary and reviews of Gone So Long by Andre Dubus III

Gone So Long

by Andre Dubus III

Gone So Long by Andre Dubus III X
Gone So Long by Andre Dubus III
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Oct 2, 2018
    480 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

Andre Dubus III's first novel in a decade is a masterpiece of thrilling tension and heartrending empathy.

Few writers can enter their characters so completely or evoke their lives as viscerally as Andre Dubus III. In this deeply compelling new novel, a father, estranged for the worst of reasons, is driven to seek out the daughter he has not seen in decades.

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. 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." - Publishers Weekly

"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." - Kirkus

"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." - Booklist

"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." - Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge

"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." - Phil Klay, National Book Award–winning author of Redeployment

"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." - Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Tinkers

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Reader Reviews

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Dorothy M. (Maynard, MA)

Another exceptional book by Andre Dubus III
Andre Dubus III is always worth reading. In his latest book, Gone So Long, he has his character Susan, a teacher and aspiring writer say "…my love for stories that brought me into the dark bottomless hearts of others." And I think that is probably a good description of the stories he tells us. Writing from a depth of knowledge of people who live on the edge, this time he tells us the story of Susan, her grandmother Lois, and Susan's father Daniel who 40 years ago had done the unforgivable thing. And - now at the end of his life - hopes that there may be, if not forgiveness, perhaps an opportunity to be seen. It is a book about despair, anger fueled by guilt, and uncontrollable desperation and yet it is a hopeful book. Dubus' writing is as always beautiful, full of descriptions that will take you to places you probably haven't seen, including deep inside his characters who are doing their best to survive. Highly recommended.

Donna W. (Wauwatosa, WI)

Gone So Long
This author paints such beautiful pictures with his words, that everything is clearly seen. The images are so vivid and the characters are so real that anyone who enjoys character driven books will enjoy this novel. The book is not an easy read though, and the story is not at all uplifting.

Even though the imaging was terrific, the over-abundance of it throughout the whole book slowed the story down a bit for me in the middle. It did pick up again in the end, and on the whole was a good read.

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Author Information

Andre Dubus III Author Biography

Photo: Marion Ettlinger

Before finding his calling as a writer, Andre Dubus III (b. Oceanside, California) worked for brief stints as a bounty hunter, private investigator, carpenter, bartender, actor, and teacher. His first book, The Cage Keeper and Other Stories, was published in 1989, followed in 1993 by his first novel, Bluesman.

For the next few years, he taught and did odd jobs as a carpenter while working on House of Sand and Fog (a National Book Award finalist in 1999 and 2003 movie). Much of the book was written in his car, which he often parked at a local cemetery in search of quiet and solitude. His characters were inspired by two people whose predicaments had stuck in his mind for years: a woman he read about in the newspaper who was wrongly evicted from her house and forced to live in ...

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Author Interview
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Name Pronunciation
Andre Dubus III: ahn-dray duh-BYOOSE (last syllable rhymes with use)

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