Growing up poor in a mill town outside of Boston where a capacity for violence was a survival requirement, Andre Dubus learned to live for its thrill. His memoir, Townie, is brutal, yet beautiful and compelling. His story could have been anybody's, from a certain place and time, but it also could only have been his, with a certain sensibility and narrative power wielded by this famous author, son of another famous author. The best kind of memoir.
A Hudson Best Book of 2011
“This is an intensely courageous portrait of growing up after Dubus' renowned writer father leaves his mother, him, and his three siblings to confront the desolate, broken-down world of the mill towns of Massachusetts while he, in turn, teaches in nearby elitist colleges. Dubus bravely bares the veins of violence, fear, survival and love with a tender toughness, a linguistic grace, and an utter absence of rancor that places him among the most effective American memoirists writing today.”
— Margot Liddell, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, VT
After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their overworked mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and everyday violence. Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash between town and gown, between the hard drinking, drugging, and fighting of "townies" and the ambitions of students debating books and ideas, couldn't have been more stark. In this unforgettable memoir, acclaimed novelist Dubus shows us how he escaped the cycle of violence and found empathy in channeling the stories of others--bridging, in the process, the rift between his father and himself.