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Dubin's Lives (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1995

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Malamud here introduces us to William Dubin, a popular biographer in his late 50s whose life and work are in a serious slump. LJ's reviewer described this as a "moving, compelling, and deeply personal novel" (LJ 1/15/79).
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Bernard Malamud has one of the greatest of a novelist's gifts. One believes everything he says...Dubin's Lives is another of his unaffected successes" Financial Times "Masterly and hypnotic...I can't recall a more tender portrait of a marriage, or a more beautifully incisive, exact and well-judged chronicle of the longings - not just, but chiefly, erotic - that can owrry away at such a bond" Observer "A rich book, generous in what it offers, a work that significantly extends the range of one of America's finest writers" New York Times Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Twentieth Century Classics
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (June 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014018760X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140187601
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,811,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By An admirer of Saul on January 2, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The story of William Dubin,the biographer, who believes all lives are ordered or at least make consistent sense,though comes to realize that it is only the biographer in him that can deliver this scenario to the lives of others but focusing in on certain chance moments in a subjects life.During a hectic year attempting to write the life of DH Lawrence,Dubin sees events and emotions slipping out of control and his idealistic view of human exsistence fall apart.

This was Malamuds great theme;how little control we actually have over our lives.Nature,chance meetings,the times we grew up in and the new ones we live in (with new sensibilities and morals) all shape us like water shapes rock,and human exsistence isn't based on permanence.

Malamud paints such vivid scenes with so few words that I will be able to picture in my mind forever William Dubins long walk route,his trip to Sweden,to Venice and his confusion in the snow. A lovely book. I enjoyed being in its company.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By bookman on August 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
I don't write a lot of reviews, but I thought I would chime in on this one because it seems that hardly anybody reads Malamud anymore. This is a nice, subtle, introspective novel that offers thoughtful insights into aging, marriage, writing, and nature.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By baby bell on November 14, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A strong book that engages the reader in its story as though s/he is a character. Taking you on a rather poignant journey through the seasons, not only of the year but of William Dubin's life, his stayed yet tender relationship with his wife and his fun, youth replenishing affair with the 23yr old Fanny Bick. All the time we are reminded that life is for living and the moment for siezing.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Frances Haas on July 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
The story's protagonist fit a little too closely to the author and the protagonist was unfair, repressed sexually, and self-absorbed. I came away from the book feeling it hit too close to home for Mr. Mulamud to distance himself from the main character. There are hilarious scenes, especially the one where Fannie has sex with another man in the room Dubin has rented for their own liason, and he stumbles upon them. Fannie comes across as meat. I can't put my finger on exactly when I began to think about the author's life instead of the story, over half way through. The tale seemed a pretext for a justification, hanging so heavily on the fact that Dubin's wife was an experienced widow and he a virgin when they married. Dubin is, more or less, a construct to justify an older man's taking advantage of a young woman, an excuse for leaping on the back of the younger colt and letting the old nag shift for herself. The add on character of the daughter was dreary and wierd. I usually admire Malumud's work, and was disappointed to see him grappling with his own shadow this time round. The book seemed contrived and shallow, but some of the scenes were excellent. I could almost see the author obsessing over his own sex life.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Simon on July 28, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Long ago, a creative writing teacher recommended this book to me. I've finally read it, and in turn I highly recommend it. Malamud shows a mastery of prose and an immense talent for description. His passages describing the changing seasons are incredible!
At first, the author's tendency to bend the "laws" of punctuation and grammar threw me a little. The first twenty pages didn't hold my interest, but after that I adjusted to his style and grew to appreciate it. It was worth persevering.
The book tells a story that is at once absorbing, sensual, frustrating and heartbeaking. Whatever the author's intentions, I found the title character to be rather less than admirable -- and normally a book with an unlikeable protagonist would be hard-pressed to keep my interest. This one did earn my interest, and even gained moments of insight and sympathy that brought me inside the flaws of the main character and allowed me to understand him, even if I never exactly liked the man.
I recommend this book for its deep exploration of a flawed man as he grapples with love, aging, and temptation. Well done.
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