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Gone So Long by Andre Dubus III


Gone So Long by Andre Dubus III

Now in Paperback

Gone So Long is a masterpiece of thrilling tension and heartrending empathy.

For as long as she can remember, Susan Dunn has been trying to escape. But peace and happiness have always eluded her—now an adjunct professor, she is tortured by the novel she cannot finish, and a lack of feeling toward a husband who loves her. Just when she’s ready to abandon everything to try again, she receives a letter that forces her to reckon with the trauma that first sent her running: her mother’s murder at the hands of her father, Daniel Ahearn, forty years ago.

Daniel, out of prison and living a spartan life, has written Susan with his dying wish: to see her for the first time since a policeman tore her from his arms. But does she want to see him, and confront the reason he’s been gone so long? What could Daniel possibly offer the daughter he robbed of a family? As the story moves toward a possible reunion, it pulses with emotion, probing the limits of our capacity to forgive. Like Dubus’s award-winning Townie and House of Sand and Fog, Gone So Long is a profound exploration of the struggle between our best intentions and most mercurial desires.

Hardcover: ‎480 pages

Publisher:‎ W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition (October 2, 2018)

Editorial Reviews

“A compassionate and wonderful novel…Dubus renders this story of love, jealousy, guilt, and atonement in a voice that rings with authenticity and evokes the texture of working-class lives.”

—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Dubus asks difficult questions. What do you do with a man who has done what Daniel Ahearn has done? How do you sympathize with him?...What drives Dubus’s storytelling is the urge to find out which way they’ll turn.”

—Benjamin Markovits, New York Times Book Review

“Full of ghosts and regrets and glimmering shards of excavated memory, Gone So Long is about destruction and redemption and the stupid, stubborn way people have of squandering love.”

—Boston Globe

Gone So Long isn’t a thriller, but it’s taut with tension. Dubus manages to keep readers on edge…a meditation on regret and anger—how people process and cope with it throughout their lives and how destructive it can be to keep it bottled up.”

—Associated Press

“Dubus has a gift for writing fiction that inspires empathy with characters who initially seem detestable…He brings a light touch to questions of morality and justice and moves delicately between seaside New England and swampy Florida, infusing life into the characters in this heartbreaking novel.”

—National Book Review

“Stirring…The people at the heart of this novel feel intensely real. That’s because Dubus has the imagination, patience and empathy to make them so.”

—Minneapolis Star Tribune

Gone So Long has everything a novel could ask for: It’s a literary page-turner that explores the grit and pain of working class lives through complex personalities and beautifully pungent, multisensory language. From the earliest pages, author Andre Dubus III is intensely inside his characters’ bodies and memories.”

—New York Journal of Books

“Dubus evokes a dazzling palette of emotions as he skillfully unpacks the psychological tensions between remorse and guilt, fear and forgiveness, anger and love. Susan, Daniel, and Lois are fully realized and authentic characters who live with pain and heartache while struggling to fill the tremendous void created by the tragedy. Heartrending yet unsentimental, this powerful testament to the human spirit asks what it means to atone for the unforgivable and to empathize with the broken.”


“Dubus is in his gritty wheelhouse, exploring the question of how we live with our mistakes and whether we can ever stop adding to them.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Dubus has the preternatural power to make every storyline feel mythic, and Gone So Long rides an inevitable charge of guilt, fear, and stubborn hope.”

—The Millions

“A simmering, haunted, beauty of a novel…Like the ocean washing along the sandy carnival strip of the book’s setting, Dubus’ writing is evocative almost of a force of nature, but with an undertone of humility that somehow serves to reinforce its potency.”

—Hudson Booksellers

Gone So Long is an astonishment. I love this book so much, the humanity in it. I love every single person in it, they are so real, these people—I know them and love them all. I wept for them, I did. Dubus is just so good and real and true, he doesn’t pull one sentimental punch the whole time—extraordinary. I thought about those people as I was walking down the sidewalk, and they are inside me as well, not just thoughts that go by. I love this book to pieces.”

— Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge

“I tore through this haunting novel about people driven by pain beyond the reach of love and forgiveness, and the roads they use as they seek their way back. It hits just the right note at the end, and I’ll be thinking about Susan a long time. A hell of a read.”

— Phil Klay, National Book Award-winning author of Redeployment

“Well, he’s done it again, hasn't he? What a gorgeous heartbreaker of a book. Dubus’s compassion is unsentimental and unblinking, total and unwavering. That and sheer artistry makes Gone So Long dark and radiant, beautiful and never to be forgotten.”

— Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Tinkers

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