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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  • Published in USA  Oct 2018
    480 pages
    Genre: Novels

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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

"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

"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, starred review

"A dark and exquisitely crafted novel that views parental relationships as both a form of inherited violence and redemptive empathy." - Library Journal, starred review

"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

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Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Sarah H. (Arvada, CO)

As real as it gets
When characters leap from the page into your mind and heart, tormenting and challenging both, you forget you are reading. You are sharing the human experience with another who admits and acknowledges that life can be hard, painful and sometimes downright ugly. And yet, there is goodness. To share this with another, even if only through the written word, is a powerful experience.

Debbie M. (Grand Junction, CO)

Gone So Long
A father who made a horrible mistake and wants to make it right, a grandmother who suffered a tremendous loss and a young woman searching for herself.
A beautiful story of the struggles of a family. Each character trying to do the best they can, but feeling lost and alone. We all thing if we could change the past, our lives would be so much better.

Beautifully written and characters that capture your heart.

Cabin girl

Gone So Long
Gone so Long by Andre Dubus III would be a great discussion for any book club. It is well written and easy to read but will tear at you heart strings. A tragic event in a family that no one will ever forget, and how their lives are effected. You will get to know very well the victims and the man who caused the violence.

Ginny H. (Troutdale, OR)

Gone So Long
Gone So Long is the 4th book I've read by Andre Dubus III. Although this is an emotionally difficult book to read. It is the story of a man who has done a terrible thing who seeks to find forgiveness and redemption from his estranged daughter. Daniel murdered his young wife in a fit of jealousy when his daughter, Susan, was 3 years old. He is sent to prison. This novel is set 40 years later, after Daniel has been out of prison for 25 years when he seeks out his daughter. The book switches back and forth between characters and is long and dense and sophisticated and ultimately satisfying.

Gail Brooks

Gone So Long
Raw emotions... love and hate, rage and tenderness.... The characters -- Daniel/Danny, Lois/Noni, Susan/Suzie Woo Woo -- all six tell their stories. Lost, lost, everybody lost except the one steadying force, a genuine nice guy who loves discordant, broken things and might pull them all together. This is a tough story to read but once into it, I couldn't put it down.

Mary M. (Beverly Hills, FL)

Heartbreaking, beautiful, real
This book is a wonder. It is beautifully written and the characters are so human and so real. These characters, who have been so damaged and are so hurt by the unforgivable, are described lovingly, but without any cloying sentimentality. They struggle towards redemption and forgiveness and we root for them all the way. They are not faultless; they sometimes are not even particularly "nice", but they are so, so human. I cried for all of them. They will stay with you long after you turn the last page. I loved, loved, loved this book!

...10 more reader reviews

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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 ...

... Full Biography
Author Interview
Link to Andre Dubus III's Website

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

Other books by Andre Dubus III at BookBrowse
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