I haven't exactly been combing through publisher's catalogs on a monthly basis looking for something new by Andre Dubus III, BUT when I first became aware that he had a new book coming out in June 08, it was a very good day. I am still haunted by House of Sand and Fog and I suppose the movie images have something to do with that. However, Dubus can spin a tale laden with atmosphere like few others. Once again in The Garden of Last Days Dubus has included the Middle Eastern sensibility and culture in his cast of characters. One of the four main characters is Bassam, a 9/11 terrorist who is availing himself of the services of April, a stripper who works in a seedy club in Florida. These two along with A.J., another client of the club, and Jean, caregiver to April's daughter are on an inexorable path to self-destruction. Reading this hefty volume was to be conflicted on a daily basis! I couldn't not pick it up but I somehow dreaded it because these characters just kept digging themselves in deeper with every move. I was in sympathy with some of them because their motivation was justified in that instant. But with the benefit of hindsight one could see how mislead and misinformed their actions were. He is just one hell of a writer in his ability to get under the skin of his characters and in being a keen observer of human behavior. For more on what inspired him to write this novel and about the guy himself, check out the video above.
Dubus will be reading at the store on Tuesday, July 29 at 7 pm. I can't wait.