Remembering Andre Dubus

Tobias Wolff at The American Scholar:

“Voices from the Moon” is my favorite of all Andre Dubus’s stories and novellas. It concerns itself unabashedly and unsentimentally with love—the love of parents for their children, of men for women and women for women, of a boy’s love for God, and a teenage girl’s love for cigarettes. The story is too rich to paraphrase, but in brief, a divorced man has fallen in love with his son’s ex-wife, and she with him. They mean to live together. The family is shaken to its roots by the apparent betrayals involved, and not least by the social impropriety of such an arrangement—its radical flouting of convention. Yet as the story proceeds we see its people react not with the sort of virtuous outrage we might expect, but with hard-won understanding, generosity, forgiveness, and love. In essence, the family members declare their independence from submissive concern or embarrassment about how things might look to others, finding freedom in their refusal to let their lives be shaped by the expectations and decorums of social custom. Sensational as the premise of the story may be—it was inspired by a newspaper article Dubus happened upon—he illuminates his people’s lives not by heating up the drama inherent in their situation, but by allowing each of them quiet, ordinary moments in which to reveal themselves, to profound, extraordinary effect. It is altogether Dubus’s strangest, most moving and beautiful piece of work.

more here.