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The Garden of Last Days: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Andre Dubus III
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“So good, so damn compulsively readable, that I can hardly believe it.” —Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly

In his stunning follow-up to the #1 best-selling House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus draws us into the lives of three deeply flawed, driven people whose paths intersect on a September night in Florida. April, a stripper, has brought her daughter to work at the Puma Club for Men. There she encounters Bassam, a foreign client both remote and too personal, and free with his money. Meanwhile, another man, AJ, has been thrown out of the club, and he’s drunk and angry and lonely. From these explosive elements comes a relentless, raw, and page-turning narrative that seizes the reader by the throat with psychological tension, depth, and realism.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This fascinating novel is a powerful look at connection and love played out inside of a strip club in Florida. The central character is April, a stripper forced to bring her child to work because her babysitter has a panic attack. A male narrator seems a poor choice, as a strong female performance would have captured the essence of the story far better. Dan John Miller reads clearly and with good pacing, but his deep monotone lacks emotion. While the writing is certainly first rate and the characters completely realistic, Miller fails to capture the listener's attention. A W.W. Norton hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 17). (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

Dubus’s follow-up to "House of Sand and Fog" is inspired by the rumored visit of 9/11 hijackers to a strip club shortly before their attacks. In the fictional Puma Club, in Sarasota, Florida, a twenty-six-year-old named Bassam al-Jizani watches Spring, a stripper, undress, and finds his "hatred for these kufar rising with the knowledge of his own weakness." We know he is entranced, because he does not imagine slitting her throat, as he does with most people he encounters. Bassam recoils from the hedonistic pursuits of the West, yet finds himself drawn to them; losing his virginity to a prostitute, he wonders, "How many years will she be given by the Creator before she will burn?" Imagining the mind of a terrorist, Dubus runs into a familiar problem: Bassam’s thoughts are a case study in the banality of evil. "Hatred gives him strength," he writes. But it doesn’t make him interesting.
Copyright ©2008Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker

Product Details

  • File Size: 670 KB
  • Print Length: 539 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0393335305
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00421BN86
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,554 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
101 of 119 people found the following review helpful
While House of Sand and Fog addressed the heartbreaking dilemma of a proud Iranian immigrant faced with the intractable demands of a young woman and a bureaucratic blunder with tragic consequences pre-9/11, The Garden of Last Days tumbles into a much darker landscape on the eve of America's loss of innocence. The internal drama is played out on the tawdry runway of a Florida Gulf Coast strip club, the Puma Club for Men, where April is forced to break her own strict rule, taking her three-year-old daughter, Franny, to work rather than miss an opportunity to salt away more money toward a future free of the decadent circumstances in which she now makes her living. April is a bit of an anomaly, with a well-thought out plan for escaping the downward spiral of such employment, most of the other dancers fortifying themselves with drugs and the occasional extra date with customers after the club closes. But April is thrown off the usual rhythm of her bifurcated life, the dayworld/nightworld of April/Spring when her landlady goes to the hospital unexpectedly with an anxiety attack.

Deeply troubled by this merging of two worlds, April has every reason to doubt the wisdom of her decision as the shift grinds on. Tina, who agrees to keep an eye on Franny while April dances is at best lackadaisical about Franny's care in a cramped office just off the women's dressing room, Tina easily distracted by the demands of her boss. Tiny Franny, in her pink pajamas, is by turns enthralled by her Disney movies and snacks, but needing constant reassurance that her mother will soon take her home.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawed thinking, inevitable disasters March 19, 2010
The beauty of this book was the writer's uncanny ability to share the insides of his characters' heads in a believable way. The people are so genuine and the results of their random collisions with each other are so predictable that the tension is in the inevitability of the outcome. You KNEW some characters were going to be trouble right from the start and it was excruciating not to be able to intervene, to watch the night unravel.
Having been connected to the judicial system (in a good way) for 30 some years, I found the characters' flawed thought processes were consistant and believable. I didn't think it was slow and I didn't want to miss a moment of the writing, as I sometimes do when authors describe scenery and Yaddah Yaddah Yaddah. If you are a student of human motivation and behavior you will like this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Sorrow That This Is MY Last Day... March 5, 2010
By ViAmber
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
...of reading this incredible novel. What a storyteller, Dubus is! I could not put the book down and read it basically straight through in 2 days. I cared about almost all of the characters, except Bassam. I felt that Dubus really did his research on some of the factors that led up to 9/11. The strip club subculture was fascinating and sounded very realistic. I really cared about April and Franny! AND I cared about AJ, bless his doofus heart. I kept hoping he'd get out of jail and lead a more productive and happy life.

Some of the reviewers have commented on Dubus' writing being overblown, but I couldn't disagree more. As a matter of fact, I noticed that with the closing of each chapter the last sentence would be written in the most beautiful, descriptive manner. Not overblown at all. A great writer and an incredible read.
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29 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Expected more July 14, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book solely based on Stephen King's review in EW, so needless to say, I was expecting a lot. Most of the book takes place over the course of one night at a strip club in Florida. It is essentially based on a bad choice made by April, the stripper, taking her child to work with her instead of staying home and missing a night of tips. It follows the characters as they are connected to April and her daughter and drags on endlessly over every last detail. I felt the book was overly lengthy and about 2/3 into it I skimmed the chapters about Bassam, the 9/11 terrorist. It just became too much background info and not enough story. I just kept plodding along expecting something else to happen...waiting for 9/11 and how all these characters I had invested 400 pages in would react to the tragedy and actually being a small part in the last days of one of the terrorists. I was, however, let down. When the book finally reached 9/11 it was utterly anti-climatic, it just wound down and ultimately ended with no major revelations or surprise, I suppose that was the point.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed October 21, 2012
By Robyn
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This story was a disappointment.I really enjoyed House Of Sand and Fog and was looking forward to another book from Mr Dubus 111.I read some different reviews and decided to go ahead after one saying "I am really glad I stuck with it".I didn't enjoy the story subject and I do feel his books need to be edited more.As for reviews I think if they come to the point quickly a decision on purchase can be made knowing you are going to enjoy reading.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The long crawl to the finish line July 11, 2008
I too was excited to read this book after enjoying "House of Sand and Fog" and also reading Stephen King's review. It started off great, in my opinion, introducing the players, setting up a storyline, and setting the scene. However, after April's daughter disappears (which occurs about 1/3 of the way through), I felt it just went in circles. I was bored, I wasn't interested in any of the characters, and I felt like it was constant repetition. By the end, I was practically skimming, just wanting to get it over with.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This story was a perfect snapshot of American life before Sept 11
What a profound look into the lives of these characters, their turmoil and grief, their totally messed up decisions, their predicaments. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Gale Massey
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
VERY good story. Andre Dubus II really gets into the minds and motivations of his characters.
Published 29 days ago by James M. Combiths
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful storyteller
Mr. Debus is a masterful storyteller. His earlier book, The House of Sand and Fog, was such a powerful book, but so very depressing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Not the boss
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Mr. Dubus is phenomenal. Read him. Be entranced.
Published 2 months ago by E. Siewert
5.0 out of 5 stars Set aside a weekend - you won't put this book down.
You will devour this book. The characters are completely unforgettable. The author's language paints beautiful pictures of ugly places and ugly people. Read more
Published 2 months ago by LEE
5.0 out of 5 stars Another riveting book by the author of The House of Sand and Fog
As in his previous bestseller, Dubus goes deep into the minds of his characters, which in this case include a stripper who has brought her daughter to her workplace, a terrorist... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Robert Dinsmoor
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Great story, loved it! Couldn't put it down.
Published 4 months ago by Jason
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't like the characters & could not have cared less what ...
Not often that I don't finish a book or at least come close to finishing , but this one left me cold. Didn't like the characters & could not have cared less what happened to them. Read more
Published 5 months ago by GinnyB
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring. I know people who are crazy over his ...
Not for me. I got 120 pages into it and put it down. Boring. I know people who are crazy over his work. I am not one of them. To each his own.
Published 7 months ago by capt367272
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
Powerful story driven by complex characters making individual choices that affect one another like billiard balls clacking together at break.
Published 7 months ago by Paul W Hambleton
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