Gone So Long

Gone So Long

by Andre Dubus III

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Overview

"Taut with tension.… [E]nding with a hint of hope."—Rob Merrill, Associated Press

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.

Gone So Long is a riveting family drama about an ex-con who did time for murder, the estranged daughter he hasn’t seen in forty years, and the grandmother angry enough to kill him. A profound exploration of the struggle between the selves we wish to be, and the ones—shaped by chance and circumstance, as well as character—that we can’t escape, it confirms Andre Dubus’s reputation as a novelist whose “compassion is unsentimental and unblinking, total and unwavering” (Paul Harding).

Editorial Reviews

Kevin Canfield - Star Tribune

The people at the heart of this novel feel intensely real. That’s because Dubus has the imagination, patience and empathy to make them so.

Bill Kelly - Booklist

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.

Chloe Schama - Vogue

Andre Dubus III has made a name for himself as a kind of poet of violence—a dubious accolade, to be sure—a writer who vibrantly captures a kind of hardscrabble New England living that’s not rough around the edges, it’s just rough.

Laura Collins-Hughes - Boston Globe

Full of ghosts and regrets and glimmering shards of excavated memory, Gone So Long is about destruction and redemption and the stupid, stubborn way people have of squandering love.

National Book Review

[Dubus] brings a light touch to questions of morality and justice and moves delicately between seaside New England and swampy Florida, infusing life into the characters in this heartbreaking novel.

Paul Harding

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.

Phil Klay

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.

Elizabeth Strout

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.

Porter Shreve - San Francisco Chronicle

Visceral, immersive and history-haunted, Gone So Long is an often painful but necessary read.

The New York Times Book Review - Benjamin Markovits

These are hard things to write about and Dubus asks difficult questions. What do you do with a man who has done what Daniel Ahearn has done? How do you sympathize with him? Dubus does a good job of making Daniel's self-justifications seem simultaneously plausible and crazy…Dubus writes well about class—not so much the clash between different ends of the social ladder as the internal conflict that determines whether someone will rise or fall. His characters usually have a foot on two rungs. They're going up or down. What drives Dubus's storytelling is the urge to find out which way they'll turn.

Publishers Weekly

★ 08/06/2018
Dubus (Townie) renders this story of love, jealousy, guilt, and atonement in a voice that rings with authenticity and evokes the texture of working-class lives. Danny Ahern and Linda Dubie grow up in the same town north of Boston. As teenagers, Danny is awkward and unattractive, while Linda is beautiful and smart. Their love affair and marriage is a blue-collar Beauty and the Beast, but Danny’s wild love for his wife turns to jealousy and fear that she will leave him. When that seems imminent, he fatally stabs her in a moment of madness, while their three-year-old daughter, Susan, looks on uncomprehendingly. Danny goes to prison, and Susan is raised by her maternal grandmother, a woman locked in hatred and bitterness about her daughter’s tragic demise. After a terminally ill Danny is released 40 years later, he hopes to find Susan. Susan, meanwhile, has never been able to feel real love, and even in her marriage to a kind and understanding man, she is trapped in self-doubt and depression. As the aftereffects of the murder continue to reverberate through their lives, events move to a climax during a hot night in Florida where Susan, newly pregnant, and her father finally confront each other. 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. (Oct.)

Booklist

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

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.

From the Publisher

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

“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 Reviews

“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

Library Journal

★ 09/01/2018
Perhaps best known for the novel House of Sand and Fog, a National Book Award finalist later adapted into a film of the same name, Dubus also authored the 2011 memoir Townie, which details his violent childhood and estrangement from his father. Echoing Townie, this new novel unfolds around Daniel Ahern, imprisoned for murdering his wife in a jealous rage, and his estranged daughter, Susan, who witnessed the crime at a young age. Upon his release from prison, Daniel reflects on how his violent tendencies reflect his own childhood and yearns to reconnect with his daughter. Meanwhile, Susan begins a novel to unpack years of trauma and finds her thoughts drifting toward her absentee father. When Daniel finally tracks her down, Susan is awash in feelings of pity and rage toward a father who abandoned her. Dubus masterfully employs minimal dialog between the two characters, underscoring how reunification often manifests as a temporary dissolution of thoughts and words. VERDICT A dark and exquisitely crafted novel that views parental relationships as both a form of inherited violence and redemptive empathy. [See Prepub Alert, 40/30/18.]—Joshua Finnell, Colgate Univ., Hamilton, NY

Kirkus Reviews

2018-07-02
An ex-convict in his 60s pays a visit to the daughter he hasn't seen since the night he murdered her mother in 1973.Danny "The Sound" Ahearn was "head DJ in the glass booth on the Himalaya ride, the job every young man on the beach would bleed for." Linda Dubie was the sweet, sexy daughter of the guy who owned the Penny Arcade in their beach town north of Boston. Their insatiable hunger for each other led to marriage, then to the birth of a baby girl they called Suzie Woo Woo, and finally, one night when their daughter was 3, a jealous rage with irrevocable consequences. Linda's mother, Lois, sold the arcade and moved with her granddaughter, Suzie, to Florida, where she became an antiques dealer. Now in her early 40s, Susan is married to a kind man named Bobby Dunn. She teaches college English and is working on a memoir of her childhood, draft sections of which are included here. What Susan doesn't know is that her now ailing father is putting things in order, writing his will, and setting off down the East Coast in hopes of seeing her once more before he dies. Dubus (Dirty Love, 2013, etc.) puts this pot on a very slow boil, continuing to fill in the backstory as he inches the characters toward their climactic meeting, some of them carrying firearms. Grim, hopeless situations are this author's specialty, but the care he takes in the emotional development of his flawed characters buoys them against the undertow. Danny Ahearn is a uniquely sympathetic murderer, and the window we are given into Susan's memories and emotions through drafts and excerpts from her memoir brings us very close to her as well.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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393357370
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 412,302
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

Customer Reviews