BOOKS: PAIN AND LOSS: THE UP SIDE

ANDRE DUBUS' NEW STORIES ARE HARROWING AND EXHILARATING

FOR A TIME, BEGINNING IN THE mid-1960s, aspiring short-story writers who wanted to have their work published in the right places and then talked about in the right circles were drawn to two enormously influential models: the cerebral playfulness of Donald Barthelme and the tense minimalism of Raymond Carver. Andre Dubus, whose stories began appearing in the early '70s, resisted the temptation to join the crowds of Barthelme and Carver wannabes. His early fiction seemed resolutely unfashionable and untrendy. It arrived lumpy rather than sleek, filled with the ungainliness of ordinary emotions--love, passion, heartbreak, fear--before the intellect has had its chance...

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