Oct 30 2014
Bibi Deitz: Andre Dubus's best characters
Andre Dubus's literary superpower is to hit upon that one thing about a character that makes him him, or her her. And in so doing, with subtle, clever details—breadcrumbs on the trail to the nucleus of a character—he makes a reader want to keep going, because she knows exactly who these people are and has to know what happens to them. It's a feat that fellow short-form heavyweights Chekhov and Carver knew all about. Rather than getting bogged down in the details—hair and eye color, the make of automobiles, the inconsequential cousins and endless backstories—Dubus trains his eye on the here and now. His stories are concise, usually focused on a specific event or chain of events, which drive the plot the way a driver might handle a Maserati: fast and furious, but with a strong sense of dignity and purpose.
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