Leslie in California / by Andre Dubus. Dubus, Andre, (Author). General Note: “This copy of Leslie in California is number 87 in an edition limited to. mar Leslie in California Introduction The short story “Leslie in California”, is written by Andre Dubus in The short story “Leslie in California” is. ANDRE DUBUS’S fourth collection of short stories derives its title from a In ” Leslie in California” a young wife broods over the fact that her.

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Jump to navigation Skip to content. Andre Dubus was enamored with the human condition.

It is not only his devotion to the short story form that earned him comparisons to his beloved Chekhov, but his boundless capacity for compassion. His stories search deeper into the human soul than many writers dare reach. There are moments when his generosity and tenderness can nearly overwhelm the reader, and it is a testament to his narrative skill that the stories never collapse into sentimentality.

Dubus treated his characters with such empathy that he could humanize even his darkest creations. Strout begins to look a lot like Matt Fowler: It is a chilling revelation.

The Art of Reading Andre Dubus: We Don’t Have to Live Great Lives

Dubus trusted his characters so much that he gave his stories over to them. Friend, admirer, and fellow short story devotee Tobias Wolff wrote in his afterword to Andre Dubus: Each of his women is particular and unexpected, her moral and physical nature without a shadow of male fantasy or condescension. In the story, two men follow LuAnn Arceneaux home from the grocery store and force their way into her kitchen.

Dubus describes in visceral language how LuAnn savagely defends herself against what is surely an attempted rape. Later, LuAnn tells her husband how she is stunned by the violence she was capable of.

The Art of Reading Andre Dubus: We Don’t Have to Live Great Lives | Poets & Writers

Her husband explains it away as motherly instinct. I hit them so my blood would stay in my body; so I could keep breathing. The fiction writer Ann Beattie has long admired Dubus and says his stories go far beyond simply giving female characters equal attention and power.


Time and again, Dubus explored how normal people struggled with the complexities of their desires.

This subject lies at the heart of Voices From the Moon Godine,his longest novella it was actually marketed as a novel and very likely his masterpiece. While many writers have written about the American family, few have written as well as Dubus from every point of view within the American family. Such a plot could easily become soap opera, but with his plain language and astute characterization Dubus weaves a tale that leaves the reader feeling, if not affection, then at least empathy for every member of the family.

In Voices From the MoonDubus balances the themes and preoccupations that define his oeuvre—religion, guilt, compassion, sex, spirituality, tenderness, acceptance, violence, and morality—and he does it from the shifting viewpoints of a father, son, mother, daughter, husband, wife, and lover.

They are normal people doing mundane things, but while these characters might appear simple, they are not simpletons. On July 23,while driving home from Boston, Dubus stopped to help Luz and Luis Santiago, a brother and sister from Puerto Rico who had collided with a motorcycle that had been abandoned on the highway.

While Dubus struggled to communicate with the Santiagos, usher the pair off the road, and flag down more help, an oncoming car traveling nearly sixty miles an hour struck Dubus and Luis.

The young man, only twenty-three, was killed instantly. Dubus was thrown over the cars hood and landed in a crumpled, bleeding mass on the other side—alive but with thirty-four broken bones.

Yet he did so at great sacrifice: Dubus lost his left leg below the knee and his right leg was crushed to the point of uselessness. The accident was a massive blow to the ex-marine, who loved physical exercise especially running and weight liftingand who was, in some ways, defined by his physicality. Overwhelmed and in continual pain, he slipped into a dark depression and, for a time, struggled to write fiction.


Dubus slowly regained his confidence by writing essays and through the support he received from the writers who gathered every Thursday night at his house. When he did tackle fiction again, what he wrote—the stories that would become Dancing After Hours —could easily have spiraled into bitterness and self-pity.

Instead, his work grew even more generous, more empathetic.

About a year after I discovered Dancing After HoursI sleuthed out a mailing address for Dubus and wrote him a letter of gratitude. A few weeks later I learned that, at the age of sixty-two, Dubus had died of heart failure. The date was February 24, He had written to say he had found my letter, and then he did a beautiful thing: He thanked me for thanking his dad.

The first time I met Dubus III in person, he told me about the unexpected way his father had influenced his art. Andre Dubus cared a great deal for people. There is dhbus better evidence than the words he put to paper.

The best of his work leaves us feeling uneasy and vulnerable from the shock of recognition—nervous that this man not only dubua our secrets, but that he might understand them better than we do.

Though Dubus himself may have been as complex as the characters he created, his stories offer what only great art can: They provide counsel for the heart. Joshua Bodwell is a Maine-based journalist and fiction writer.

Leslie in California – NOBLE (All Libraries)

I’m sorry to have read this so long after it was published. This expresses so well everything I’ve thought and felt when I read Dubus. The Art of Reading Andre Dubus: Page 1 Page 2.