One Chapter More book blog > Posts > Gone so long by Andre Dubus III
June 04
Gone so long by Andre Dubus III

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Danny Ahearn and Linda Dubie grow up in the same town north of Boston. As teenagers, Danny is   an ugly boy, hook-nosed, with narrow-set eyes, and unattractive, while Linda is “the most beautiful girl on the strip”.  Danny rose to stardom on the strip, as a DJ as he possessed “big pipes” and became known locally as Danny “The Sound” Ahearn. Fatal attraction turns in to wild jealousy and a constant fear that Linda will leave him.  He has allowed his own insecurities to dominate their relationship, and gets in to scraps and fights with other people.

Linda for her part does not always take his side and this only adds fuel to his rage.

In a moment of utter madness Danny fatally stabs Linda in the presence of Susan their three-year old daughter. Danny goes to prison and Susan is raised by her maternal grandmother, Lois.   Lois herself is a strong character but who remains very bitter about her daughter’s tragic death. Decades later when Danny who now prefers to be known as Daniel, is dying, he seeks solace in the presence of his daughter, who he has not had contact with since that tragic day decades earlier. Susan, now a lecturer at a University is married to Bobby who is kind and understanding but is not fully aware of all of what Susan has struggled with, and her memories of that day.

The author, Andre Dubus III, fills in the back story with plenty of flashbacks about Susan’s promiscuous youth and Danny’s life in prison, and Lois’s hardened attitude to life. He paints with perfect clarity an alarming moment, a mistake when all three parties are just too frightened or too weak to make things right again. Edging the reader to the cliff, Dubus weaves a hypnotic spell in this richly detailed story of an elderly woman carrying the ghost of her dead daughter, the father who regrets his crime and the disenchanted granddaughter desperate for forgiveness but not quite knowing why.

Though the entire cast is vividly drawn, perhaps most impressive is how Dubus elicits sympathy in the reader for Danny, whose life effectively ended the moment he picked up the knife.

This is a compassionate and wonderful novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. At almost 500 pages it is not a novel to be rattled through.


Submitted by Paula

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