Andre Dubus: Background information when reading Townie

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A Memoir

by Andre Dubus III

Townie by Andre Dubus III X
Townie by Andre Dubus III
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2011, 400 pages
    Feb 2012, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Julie Wan
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About this Book

Andre Dubus

This article relates to Townie

Print Review

Andre DubusAndre Dubus was born in 1936 in Louisiana to a Catholic family; he studied journalism and English at McNeese State College; then spent six years in the Marine Corps, during which time he married his first wife and had his first four children, including Andre Dubus III. After leaving the Marines he studied at the Iowa Writer's Workshop. As an ex-Marine turned writer, Dubus (pronounced duh-BYOOSE) had a tough exterior and a tender heart - something he became known for in his work, which often deals with pain, tragedy, violence, and flawed characters with astonishing compassion and kindness. He wrote a few novellas and one novel, Lieutenant (1967), but was mostly devoted to the short story, a form in which he is considered one of the masters. As a devout Catholic throughout his life, his faith sometimes appeared explicitly in his writing and other times informed his work through themes of redemption and grace.

On an evening in 1986, Dubus stopped at a roadside to help a brother and sister injured in an accident. As he did, an oncoming car hit them, killing the brother and crushing Dubus's legs. The sister was saved because Dubus pushed her out of the way of the car. Dubus's left leg was amputated above the knee, and he lost the use of his right leg. After several years of physical therapy, he was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, an experience he wrote about in the collection of essays, Meditations from a Moveable Chair. His other works include Adultery and Other Choices, The Times Are Never So Bad, Dancing After Hours, and Broken Vessels (bibliography). He was awarded the PEN/Malamud, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Jean Stein Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He also received Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships, and nominations for a National Book Critics' Circle Awards and a Pulitzer Prize. Several of his stories and novellas have been adapted into films, including In the Bedroom (based on "Killings") and We Don't Live Here Anymore (based on "We Don't Live Here Anymore" and "Adultery").

Andre Dubus IIIAndre Dubus III grew up in the mill towns of Massachusetts with his brother, two sisters, and his divorced mother. He studied at Bradford College, where his father taught; at the University of Texas at Austin; and at Vermont College. Since starting to write at the age of twenty-two, he has published a collection of short stories (The Cage Keeper and Other Stories), three novels (Bluesman, House of Sand and Fog, Garden of Last Days), and now the memoir Townie.

House of Sand and Fog
was made into a movie in 2003 and received three Academy Award nominations. Dubus III has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Magazine Award for fiction, and a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Newburyport with his wife, dancer Fontaine Dollas, and their three children. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

Article by Julie Wan

This "beyond the book article" relates to Townie. It originally ran in March 2011 and has been updated for the February 2012 paperback edition.

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