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Dirty Love (Paperback)
“Why this perpetual pull toward darkness?” muses one of the characters in Dubus’s aptly-titled, masterfully propulsive collection of four loosely related tales. The answer comes through the eyes of characters you end up caring about, no matter how profound their failures and disappointments. Dubus’s pitch-perfect rendering of detail and point of view manifest the beauty inherent in lives that are all but ruined. In various American milieus including the bar, the seaside resort and the internet, his characters’ ruptured dreams, infidelities and family catastrophes touch the wounded in all of us. This book is a knockout.— From John
In these linked novellas in which characters walk out the back door of one story and into the next, love is "dirty"--tangled up with need, power, boredom, ego, fear, and fantasy. On the Massachusetts coast north of Boston, a controlling manager, Mark, discovers his wife's infidelity after twenty-five years of marriage. An overweight young woman, Marla, gains a romantic partner but loses her innocence. A philandering bartender/aspiring poet, Robert, betrays his pregnant wife. And in the stunning title novella, a teenage girl named Devon, fleeing a dirty image of her posted online, seeks respect in the eyes of her widowed great-uncle Francis and of an Iraq vet she's met surfing the Web.
Slivered by happiness and discontent, aging and death, but also persistent hope and forgiveness, these beautifully wrought narratives express extraordinary tenderness toward human beings, our vulnerable hearts and bodies, our fulfilling and unfulfilling lives alone and with others.