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Dubin's Lives: A Novel (FSG Classics) Paperback – September 18, 2003
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Dubin's Lives, for my money, is certainly Malamud's best novel since The Assistant. Possibly, it is the best he has written of all.” ―Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times
Top customer reviews
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.
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.
In this novel the reader will find some of Malamud's best writing and some of his worst. First, there is Malamud's penetrating analysis of married life. Malamud did not pull any punches here about the pitfalls and peaks of marriage, and when he writes about this subject, the novel shines.
Second, this work is marred by a great deal of repetition. Dubin is stuck in his life and the novel gets stuck along with it (perhaps from design, perhaps as collateral damage) and this can leave the reader disillusioned and bored.
Finally, and most damning, there is Malamud's penchant for the gag ending, and this novel has a whopper. After so much grave and introspective observations on life, love, marriage and freedom, after so much matter, Malamud could not end this novel on a serious note. He has the character run away with his member in his hand, as if to play a joke on the character, himself, and worst of all, on us his readers.