The Garden of Last Days: Book summary and reviews of The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III

The Garden of Last Days

A Novel

by Andre Dubus III

The Garden of Last Days
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2008
    384 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

One early September night in Florida, a stripper brings her daughter to work. April's usual babysitter is in the hospital, so she decides it's best to have her three-year-old daughter close by, watching children's videos in the office, while she works.

Except that April works at the Puma Club for Men. And tonight she has an unusual client, a foreigner both remote and too personal, and free with his money. Lots of it, all cash. His name is Bassam. Meanwhile, another man, AJ, has been thrown out of the club for holding hands with his favorite stripper, and he's drunk and angry and lonely.

From these explosive elements comes a relentless, raw, searing, passionate, page-turning narrative, a big-hearted and painful novel about sex and parenthood and honor and masculinity. Set in the seamy underside of American life at the moment before the world changed, it juxtaposes lust for domination with hunger for connection, sexual violence with family love. It seizes the reader by the throat with the same psychological tension, depth, and realism that characterized Andre Dubus's #1 bestseller, House of Sand and Fog—and an even greater sense of the dark and anguished places in the human heart.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[D]oom and desperation are in plentiful supply from page one, and as the novel fades to black, the reader's left with a roster of sadder-but-wiser Americans to contemplate." - Publishers Weekly.

"Starred Review. Difficult to put down, impossible to forget." - Kirkus Reviews.

"The anger of other characters in “The Garden of Last Days” refracts some of Bassam’s inner turmoil. To that extent this book’s ambitions are clear. Yet its inability to grasp and fathom its true subject means that when the cataclysm arrives on 9/11, its dramatic effect is both unearned and long overdue. And when April/Spring is at long last asked about the man she knew so briefly but shatteringly, all she can provide is a platitude. He was “like a boy,” she says. “Just some drunk and lonely boy." - Janet Maslin, New York Times.

"The Garden of Last Days is storytelling of the finest kind: unforgettable and desperate characters caught up in a plot thundering toward catastrophe. Maybe the end of the novel is rushed, or maybe I think it is because I wanted to read another hundred pages." - The Boston Globe.

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Reader Reviews

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Karen Sande

The Garden of Last Days
I loved this book. While it explores the gritty world of a single mother who happens to be a stripper - the love she has for her daughter and what she must do to keep her makes this a moving story with excellent character development.

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

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