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Dancing After Hours: Stories
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 1999
If you want to know what it would be like to lose the use of your legs, read this book.
In a sparse, Faulknerian style Dubus evokes an emotional landscape that has been violated by pyhsical injury or tainted by advancing age and the inevitable degradation of the body that comes in its wake.
Although not every story has at its focus this troubling theme, the penumbra of death and disfiguration permeates the collection.
For Dubus, the transition beyond youth and physical splendor is accompanied primarily by a nostalgic longing for past pleasures which are understood as being now out of reach. But the book ultimately rinses through you with a power that leaves you meditating, as the author once did, about the realities that must be faced by all of us for the simple fact that we inhabit bodies that have a trajectory which sooner lr later commands our full attention.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2001
After finishing this collection of stories I am asking myself just how good was it? The hype on the back of the book compares Dubus to Chekhov, Carver, and Flannery O'Connor. It might be that good. As you're reading the stories, most of which are about spiritual crises, or the equivalent, you begin to see the universality in these microcosms of life. The writer and the characters draw you into a quest for meaning and a struggle to reach into the past and change everything you regret. There are a couple of running characters in the stories who give a collection already united by theme the feel of a novel. Some of the best stories are "Blessings", in which a woman tries to sort through her emotions of a fishing trip in which the boat sank. Her family had to fend off shark attacks until they were rescued. It's a great combination of remembrance and violence. Also, "All the Time in the World" in which a woman is desperately trying to find a husband, not just a lover. I could go on for a 1,000 words about the beauty of the prose of each story but I won't. Suffice it to say that when you read these stories you see yourself reflected back through them or, if not personally, through the experience of someone you know. Whether its the questioning of existence, an affair, the senselessness of corporate America, crime, adolescence, love, regret, or physical disability. Every person seems represented here, like some great Walt Whitman poem singing the unity of everything and everyone. There was only one story that I had trouble with and it involved a woman fighting off two thugs who followed her home to rob or rape her. The way the action was described it seemed like the screenplay for some bad japanese karate movie. And sometimes it seemed as though Dubus uses the setting of a story just as background. It doesnt really matter to the telling of the story but he spends paragraphs describing what's going on as the characters walk and talk for example. I understand that he was trying to show the indifference of the outside world to the internal problems of the characters but it got a little old. But these are minor complaints. Overall, it was a great collection, which settles my own question about how good it was.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 1999
I am in complete awe of Andre Dubus. His passing away last week is a great loss to the writing community. I highly recommend everything he has ever written.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2001
I have never had the pleasure of reading any of Dubus' work before. I truly enjoyed his writing style. He has an amazing gift when it comes to capturing a person's thoughts and feelings. I would strongly recommend this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 1998
Great stories, some related, always with a sense of loss and redemption. Real insights into the cost of happiness and the benefits or sacrifice and passion.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I read Dancing After Hours immediately after I read Selected Stories by Andre Dubus. I found Dancing After Hours not as enjoyable. It seemed to meander and was not as concise as "Selected". By being able to compair the two, I probabally gave this book a disservice, because the ability of this man to flat out write is undeniable.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 1998
I was the sort of boy that loved to hunt because I could not play sports well and still wanted to enjoy the physical. We feel the angst of an unmarried man whose lover aborts their child. When Dubus describes adultery or other everyday events he is wonderful. Where he falters is when he describes some event that almost none of us could relate to; a murder or a shark attack. I don't think that Dubus has to titillate so why does he stoop to the sensational?
James Agee's, A Death in the Family, describes the turmoil of a family when a young father is killed in a car crash. It is a wonderful and terrible books about a subject that worries all of us. This is the feeling I believe that Dubus is reaching for--he touches it when he leaves dramatic helicopter rescues at home.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2003
These days it seems that all the drama in life in fiction is focused on the under 30 crowd. "Dancing After Hours" re-introduces life into the 30+ short story protagonist, giving us realistic daily lives spiced with sin, redemption, and ponderings that make it seem not so bad to keep getting older. The well-established setting of Boston does not beat you over the head, but subtly insinuates itself over the first three stories. In short, it's highly enjoyable with a simple feel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2014
Andre Dubus's short stories will linger in one's memory; he is a powerful writer, and not given to sweetening the "pill" he is about to serve his reader; they are mercifully unsentimental and written with great economy and efficiency. I would recommend this collection to anyone interested in good literature.
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on December 4, 2012
All stories are about people at least thirty who at the time of the stories bring all the good and bad fortunes of their past to play on their current situation. Many are about falling up from a low point. Andre Dubus's own life experiences give him first hand knowledge of situations his characters are found in.

PS I ordered this as a used book listed as "very good" condition. It was in fact in very poor condition.
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