Wednesday, January 2, 2013

(2) Adultery and Other Choices

I've written about Andre Dubus twice before (here and here). Adultery and Other Choices is the second book on My Ideal Bookshelf for several reasons. First because Dubus is a writer of surpassing gifts whose stories have given me great satisfaction over the years. (In his back-of-the-book blurb for Dancing After Hours, Elmore Leonard says of Dubus, "More than any writer I can think of, he makes me aware of the simple pleasures of reading a story. You'll recognize Andre's people; you might very well be one of them." That's certainly how I feel.) Second because there's a personal connection. Dubus is one of a handful of writers I've actually met and talked to. I saw him read on a number of occasions, and hung around after a reading in 1985 long enough to talk with him for about five or ten minutes. Third because I wanted to include a book of stories in recognition of the genre, and if I had to pick one book, it was going to be something by Dubus. In the same way that including Allegiances was a gesture at the the whole genre of poetry and its importance in my life, Adultery and Other Choices is a stand-in not only for the eleven other books by Dubus, but for all of the other collections of short stories which didn't make it onto My Ideal Bookshelf but are to this day sitting right next to the twelve volumes by Dubus on the actual bookshelf in my living room,  books by masters of the form like Charles Baxter, Michael Byers, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, Anton Chekhov, James Joyce, Jhumpa Lahiri, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Alice Munro, John Murray, Grace Paley, and Colm Tóibín.

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