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I was always a sensitive, sweet kid, but I got brutalized and I became brutal. Now, at the tavern, the man who never wanted to be a writer but who would become a finalist for the National Book Award and win a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Magazine Award, Pushcart Prize and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award sips his beer and does what he does numerous times over when discussing his craft—he reaches into his encyclopedic vat of writing quotes and selects the perfect one.

If anything, having a famous father may have meant that he had to work that much harder to prove himself.

Understanding Andre Dubus

He says his first book, the fiction collection The Cage Keeper and Other Stories , was submitted to 38 publishers over five years before it found a home. His second, the novel Bluesman , was turned down by more than His third, House of Sand and Fog, collected 24 rejections over two years.

Dubus developed a growing sensitivity and even resentment about his name—and a distinct sympathy for the children of other prominent people with shared monikers. And frankly, I like those guys a lot.


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Who cares about John Steinbeck? I care about the Joad family. So does it really matter who the reader thinks wrote this book? And that freed me at that moment.

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The Exchange: Andre Dubus III

I let go of the world ever noticing, I let go of anything ever happening in a worldly way with my writing, and I frankly had no expectation in the first place. It was anointed by Oprah Winfrey, and went on to be made into an Academy Award—nominated film. And what of his father?

Andre Dubus III shares advice for writers

The name resentment of the past is gone. It may surprise you to learn that for a writer who exudes so much charisma and confidence, when Dubus finished House of Sand and Fog , the story had taken such a dark turn that he felt like apologizing for it. He then switched over to writing short stories , a genre in which he found great success afterwards. During the next decade, Andre Dubus published several collections of short stories garnering an increased readership, critical acclaim and commercial success.

Andre Dubus married his first wife Patricia Lowe in They had four children together.

Andre Dubus

Dubus divorced his first wife in He married his second wife Tommie Gale Cotter for a brief period. The marriage was solemnized in and ended in divorce in He tied the nuptial knot for the third time in when he married Peggy Rambach. The couple had two daughters.

Several disasters marked the life of Andre Dubus. He became paranoid about the safety of his beloved family members after his daughter was raped as a young woman. He started carrying personal firearms with him always to protect himself and his family members.


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  • Once, he almost shot a drunk man who was arguing with his son Andre outside a bar in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He lost his left leg below the knee and his right leg was crushed to the point of uselessness. He would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his.

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    After the accident, Dubus was unable to write for some time. He eventually found his way back to writing fiction, in part, by writing a series of powerful essays. In need of money for medical and living expenses, Dubus finally—with the blessing of his longtime publisher, David Godine—accepted an offer from a large New York City publisher. Knopf, and went on to be named a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award; the fourteen stories in that collection are his only stories not included in this three volume collection.

    On February 24 , , at the age of sixty-two, Dubus suffered a fatal heart attack. He was laid to rest in Haverhill, Massachusetts, in a simple casket handmade by his sons. Additional information on Dubus can be found here.