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Fighting Gravity: A Novel Hardcover – April 9, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Steerforth Press; 1st edition (April 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586420232
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586420239
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,271,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Peggy Rambach's powerful second novel, Fighting Gravity (after When the Animals Leave), is based on her marriage to novelist Andre Dubus. At 19, Ellie Rifkin meets and falls in love with volatile 41-year-old Gerard Babineau, a hard-drinking writer recently separated from his second wife. The narrative alternates between their whirlwind romance and the trauma of a car accident years later that leaves Babineau in a wheelchair. Ellie at times seems like a ghost hovering just outside the story, trying to make sense of her love for the intense, often cruel man who has consumed her life.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

What is it about New England? The cold winters, a profusion of colleges, hoary old traditions, the veneration of Salinger, something in the water? Once again, a young Jewish coed is seduced by an arrogant older professor who becomes more abusive, bitter, and distant until tragedy hastens the end of their relationship. The professor, naturally, is a neurotic, alcoholic veteran. Although the plot, characters, and settings are quite similar to Terry Farish's A House in Earnest (LJ 4/15/00), also published by Steerforth, its tone is even more intimate. This highly charged story, based on the author's marriage to Andre Dubus, covers a wide emotional spectrum, drawing on her increasing confusion, frustration, and anger without becoming a soap opera or a screed. This book will have particular appeal to Joyce Maynard fans and is recommended for medium to large public and academic libraries. Jim Dwyer, California State Univ., Chico
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By cmc on May 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Read if you like commas but don't be fooled. Not a story, not a study of a relationship, not a candid reveal of an unhappy woman even. It's about Andre Dubrus -- his relentless theatricality, confidently dominating maleness, his tragic injuries, but even the loud impact and potential subtlety of writing of those things is drowned out by his ex-wife's acid resentments which read like immaturity or of a narrowly lived life or perhaps cruelty. She writes about how he was reduced and diminished by the car accident yet seems to hate him for the stature and scale he'd occupied for most of their marriage, then walks out when he's reduced. I can't find the wholeness or logic of the story. And the heartlessness doesn't feel like honesty or reality was achieved in risking the expression. Jesus, the private occurrences in and on toilets shared in such a nasty way? Lacking in humility.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peggy Rambach faced an enormous difficulty in trying to write a book about her disasterous marriage to Andre Dubus: how to maintain authorial distance. The approach she finally took will leave many readers frustrated--especially those who actually knew the real persons behind the fictional masks. The need to disguise who, what and where also makes it difficult to understand what is going on. The book is very elliptical--a series of narrative riffs that raise issues and then leave them forever dangling. The style, which employs a large number of sentence fragments, varies widely in tone, indicating that the book was composed over a long period of time in bits and pieces, in highly diverse states of mind. The most vivid (and quite humorous) parts are the ones satirically critical of Dubus's idiosyncratic personality and habits, which clearly drove her nuts. One cannot imagine a less compatible couple. Dubus was a charismatic character with a gift for performance--but no woman should ever have been foolish enough to marry him. If that's the theme of this book, then it was brilliantly done.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lou McNaughton on May 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a captivating story of a courtship and marriage covering the spectrum, from deep love to gratuitous cruelty. The genuineness of the characters is not just a function of an old saw that this book is based on the author's own marriage. Any diary can make that claim. The genuineness is more the result of Rambach's extraordinary talent, as an observer, as a listener and as a prose stylist. She does not waste one word. Rambach can at one moment take your breath away, and at another moment make you laugh out loud (see Chapter 14). My only complaint is that she did not write more. Oh well, I will keep a close eye out for Rambach's next book.
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More About the Author

Peggy Rambach is the author of a chapbook of short stories, When the Animals Leave and the novel, Fighting Gravity. She edited two anthologies that emerged from her work teaching creative writing in the health care and social service sectors, All That Matters: Memoir From the Wellness Community of Greater Boston and Seeds of Lotus: Cambodian and Vietnamese Voices in America.

Rambach was twice awarded the Massachusetts Cultural Council Individual Artist Grant in Fiction, was the recipient of the St. Botolph Foundation Grant in Literature, was a Fellow at the MacDowell and Yaddo Artist Colonies, and named a Literacy Champion by the Massachusetts Literacy Foundation.

Ms. Rambach teaches creative writing to incarcerated men and women at the Suffolk County House of Correction in Boston, Massachusetts and is on the faculty of Chatham University's Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing. She grew up in New York City and lives in northeastern Massachusetts.

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