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Summary and book reviews of Meditations From A Movable Chair by Andre Dubus

Meditations From A Movable Chair

by Andre Dubus

Meditations From  A Movable Chair
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  • First Published:
    Jun 1998, 210 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 1999, 255 pages

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Book Summary

Here is Dubus on the rape of his beloved sister, his first real job, a gay naval officer, Hemingway, the blessing of his first marriage, his dear friend Richard Yates, his own crippling and more.

For Andre Dubus, "the quotidian and the spiritual don't exist on different planes, but infuse each other. His is an unapologetically sacramental vision of life in which ordinary things participate in the miraculous, the miraculous in ordinary things. He believes in God, and talks to Him, and doesn't mince words. He believes in ghosts . . . He is open to mystery, and of all mysteries the one that interests him most is the human potential for transcendence."

So wrote Tobias Wolff seven years ago, about Andre Dubus's Broken Vessels, and that insight describes perfectly the twenty-five pieces in this powerfully moving new collection, a continuation of Dubus's candid, intensely personal exploration into matters of morality, religion, and creativity. Since that first book of essays, written after the 1986 accident that cost him his leg and, for a time, the ability to write, Mr. Dubus has published Dancing After Hours, a unanimously heralded book of stories "at once harrowing and exhilarating" (Time).

Here is Dubus on the rape of his beloved sister, his first real job, a gay naval officer, Hemingway, the blessing of his first marriage, his dear friend Richard Yates, his own crippling, lost autumnal pleasures, having sons and grandsons, his first books, meeting a woman who witnessed his accident, the Catholic church, and, of course, his faith.

Chapter Four
Digging

That hot June in Lafayette, Louisiana, I was sixteen, I would be seventeen in August, I weighed one hundred and five pounds, and my ruddy, broad-chested father wanted me to have a summer job. I only wanted the dollar allowance he gave me each week, and the dollar and a quarter I earned caddying for him on weekends and Wednesday afternoons. With a quarter I could go to a movie, or buy a bottle of beer, or a pack of cigarettes to smoke secretly. I did not have a girlfriend, so I did not have to buy drinks or food or movie tickets for anyone else. I did not want to work. I wanted to drive around with my friends, or walk with them downtown, to stand in front of the department store, comb our ducktails, talk, look at girls.

My father was a civil engineer, and the district manager for the Gulf States Utilities Company. He had been working for them since he left college, beginning as a surveyor,...

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Media Reviews
New York Times Book Review

A writer of immense sensitivity, vulnerability, and thoughtfulness--a master at the height of his talent--whose work is suffused with grace, bathed in a kind of spiritual glow

The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review, Susan Salter Reynolds

These essays are beautiful as a view is beautiful, or a child, or a righteous struggle with a victorious ending.... The essays on his life unblinkingly reveal what injury can do to body and spirit, what the greatest sorrows are.

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