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Gone So Long


Gone So Long

A few days a month (and a ton more in December), I work in a small indie bookstore. One of the best parts of the job is recommending books. A book that is on my list of favorites is HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG by Andre Dubus III, and this year it was one of my staff picks. I was beyond excited as I waited in a long and winding line to meet Dubus, who was signing advance copies of his new book. I couldn’t have been more impressed by his graciousness and the time he spent thoughtfully conversing with each person waiting to see him --- perhaps the cause of the long and winding line, which is justifiable in my opinion.

"GONE SO LONG is an evocative story of love and heartbreak, guilt and jealousy, penance and redemption."

It was with great anticipation that I dove into GONE SO LONG, his new release. The beginning took a little bit of effort, but soon I was easily into the story and living alongside these characters. Dubus does not disappoint. He is a master at portraying humanity with all of its emotion, struggle and complexity. With breathtaking authenticity, he brings us directly into people’s motivations, desires, regrets, passions, searches and vulnerabilities.

Dubus weaves between past and present, following Danny becoming Daniel, a changed man after committing murder; Susan, his daughter; and Lois, Danny’s mother-in-law who raised Susan. Each are haunted by their pasts and --- as we all do --- make decisions throughout their lives into their present day that are informed by those experiences. Using tools such as tense and point of view, memoir-within-story and letter-writing, self-reflection and seamless integration of backstory, Dubus delivers a powerful story.

“How is it possible that after all these years --- decades --- that memory brings the feelings that went with it?”

As Susan, a maybe-aspiring-novelist-or-memoirist ponders the work of writing, she goes on about all that she reads: “She stayed up late in her room writing papers until her eyes burned, though what she wrote never seemed to do any justice to what these novels kept doing to her: it was like being penetrated and opened up and pulled into layered parts of herself she hadn’t even suspected existed.” And that, dear readers, is what Andre Dubus III gives us with his novels.

GONE SO LONG is an evocative story of love and heartbreak, guilt and jealousy, penance and redemption.

Reviewed by Leah DeCesare ( on October 26, 2018

Gone So Long
by Andre Dubus III

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • ISBN-10: 0393357376
  • ISBN-13: 9780393357370