Townie: A Memoir

By Andre Dubus III
Read by Andre Dubus III

14.57 Hours 02/28/2011 unabridged
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Andre Dubus III, author of the National Book Award–nominated House of Sand and Fog and The Garden of Last Days, reflects on his violent past and a lifestyle that threatened to destroy him—until he was saved by writing. After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their exhausted working mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and crime. To protect himself and those he loved from street violence, Andre learned to use his fists so well that he was even scared of himself. He was on a fast track to getting killed—or killing someone else—or to beatings-for-pay as a boxer. Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash of worlds couldn’t have been more stark—or more difficult for a son to communicate to a father. Only by becoming a writer himself could Andre begin to bridge the abyss and save himself. His memoir is a riveting, visceral, profound meditation on physical violence and the failures and triumphs of love.

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Summary

Summary

 A New York Times bestseller

Indies Choice Book Award Finalist for the Indies Choice Book Award Book of the Year: Adult Nonfiction

A 2011 Publishers Weekly Best Book

An 2011 AudioFile Best Book of the Year

A 2011 Amazon Best Books of the Year: Top 10 in Memoir

A 2011 Barnes & Noble Best Book for Fiction

A Library Journal Best Book of 2011 in Nonfiction

One of the 2011 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books for Nonfiction

A 2011 Salon Magazine Best Book of the Year for Nonfiction

A 2011 Washington Examiner Best Book of the Year for Nonfiction

A 2011 Esquire Magazine Best Book of the Year for Nonfiction

 A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”, March 2011

Selected for the March 2011 Indie Next List

 A BookPage Book of the Day  in March  2011

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, February 2011

A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2011

Andre Dubus III, author of the National Book Award–nominated House of Sand and Fog and The Garden of Last Days, reflects on his violent past and a lifestyle that threatened to destroy him—until he was saved by writing.

After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their exhausted working mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and crime. To protect himself and those he loved from street violence, Andre learned to use his fists so well that he was even scared of himself. He was on a fast track to getting killed—or killing someone else—or to beatings-for-pay as a boxer.

Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash of worlds couldn’t have been more stark—or more difficult for a son to communicate to a father. Only by becoming a writer himself could Andre begin to bridge the abyss and save himself. His memoir is a riveting, visceral, profound meditation on physical violence and the failures and triumphs of love.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“I’ve never read a better or more serious meditation on violence, its sources, consequences, and, especially, its terrifying pleasures, than Townie. It’s a brutal and, yes, thrilling memoir that sheds real light on the creative process of two of our best writers, Andre Dubus III and his famous, much-revered father. You’ll never read the work of either man in quite the same way afterward. You may not view the world in quite the same way either.” Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Empire Falls
“The best first-person account of an author’s life I have ever read. The violence that is described is the kind that is with us every day, whether we recognize it or not. The characters are wonderful and compassionately drawn. I sincerely believe Andre Dubus may be the best writer in America. His talent is enormous. No one who reads this book will ever forget it.” James Lee Burke, New York Times bestselling author of the Dave Robicheaux novels
“Compelling, riveting, gritty, and astonishingly moving, Dubus’ memoir, Townie, achieves that rarest of qualities: it makes us love the boy who becomes the man.” Anita Shreve, author of Rescue
“In this powerful memoir, Andre Dubus III explores the complicated and intense relationships between siblings, mothers and sons, and fathers and sons. Growing up in hardscrabble old mill towns, Dubus learned to fight and survive and ultimately to find his own glorious voice…as Dubus finds his redemptive place in the world at last.” Ann Hood, bestselling author of The Red Thread
“Townie is a better, harder book than anything the younger Mr. Dubus has yet written; it pays off on every bet that’s been placed on him. It’s a sleek muscle car of a memoir that…growls like an amalgam of the best work by Richard Price, Stephen King, Ron Kovic, Breece D’J Pancake, and Dennis Lehane, set to the desolate thumping of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town.’ It could become, and I mean this fondly, one hell of a Ben Affleck movie.” New York Times
“Powerful…[A] fine memoir.” New York Times Book Review
“This harrowing and strange and beautiful book is one of paternal absence, of spiritual hollowness, of exacting strife and blatant violence and, finally, of a hard-wrought and grace-filled redemption…This book marks an important moment in the growing body of Dubus’ work. Here he reconciles as intimately and exactingly as possible the troubled—and ultimately redeemed—relationship he had with his father. And here he moves into the fatherless life of the mature artist, the one staking his claim to his own world of art in words. It is a redemptive world, one filled with a deep understanding of the power of violence, but invested in the astounding power of love.” Boston Globe
“In his memoir Townie, Andre Dubus III bravely claims all of the shadows he grew up under—his famous writer father, his parents’ divorce, his newly single mother’s impoverishment, the rough streets of the many working-class New England towns he called home. Fighting saved him for a while; then he put down his fists and picked up a pen. Lucky him, lucky us.” Elle
“[Dubus’] most searing and terrifying work yet…Townie isn’t a memoir of redemption but of resilience; it’s a fearless narrative of masculinity and fatherhood and of the power and unexpected comfort of blood.” Men’s Journal
“Grim and gripping.” USA Today
“This is a memoir both disconcertingly naked and immensely careful; Dubus refrains from bitterness the way a Buddhist monk renounces worldly possessions…It’s tempting to get angry on the author's behalf, but Townie patiently teaches its readers that rage is self-poisoning.” Salon.com
“Andre Dubus III is a family man now with a wife and three daughters. He’s a professor just like his father. And he’s discovered, during a life of enduring and inflicting pain, his voice as a writer. Townie captures the birth and evolution of that voice—one worth listening to by anyone who believes in the redemptive power of the written word.” Associated Press
“Townie has all the rich texture, lucid characterization, compelling conflicts, and narrative momentum of the best fiction. It renders heartbreaking, violent, tender, and sometimes absurdly comic scenes without a trace of narcissism or sentimentality. From first sentence to last, Dubus employs a dispassionate yet urgent voice. It allows him to do justice to his past and to the people who populated it.” Cleveland Plain-Dealer
“In this gritty and gripping memoir, Dubus bares his soul in stunning and page-turning prose.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“At once a sorrowful tale of loss and one man’s extraordinary path to a peaceful life…One of the most balanced, reflective, thoughtful books I’ve read to date. This addresses a wide range of topics with grace and depth.” Library Journal (starred review)
“Townie is a resolute story about the forging of a writer in fire and blood and a wrenching journey through the wreckage of New England’s lost factory world during the Vietnam War era…Dubus chronicles each traumatic incident and realization in stabbing detail. So chiseled are his dramatic memories, his shocking yet redemptive memoir of self-transformation feels like testimony under oath as well as hard-hammered therapy, coalescing, ultimately, in a generous, penetrating, and cathartic dissection of misery and fury, creativity and forgiveness, responsibility and compassion.” Booklist (starred review)
“The author grew up poor in Massachusetts mill towns, the oldest of four children of the celebrated short-story writer Andre Dubus (1936–1999), who abandoned the family in 1968 to pursue a young student. Beautifully written and bursting with life, the book tells the story of a boy struggling to express his “hurt and rage,” first through violence aimed at school and barroom bullies and ultimately through the power of words. Weak and shy as he entered his teens, Dubus III lived with his mother and siblings in run-down houses in crime-ridden neighborhoods, where they ate canned food for dinner and considered occasional “mystery” car rides to nowhere special with their mother a big treat. While his mother was at work, young toughs hung out at his house doing drugs. At 16, he began training with weights and grew strong to fight his tormenters, and he became a vicious brawler in a leather jacket and ponytail. Meanwhile, at nearby Bradford College, his father taught, striding across campus in his neatly trimmed beard and Australian cowboy hats. The elder Dubus sent money home and took the children out on Sundays, but otherwise remained out of touch. He eventually went through many young women and three broken marriages. At Bradford, which he entered as a student, Dubus III was known only as his father’s son, “such a townie.” Although the author stopped expecting anything from his father, he yearned for the connection that finally came years later when he helped care for the elder Dubus after the 1986 car accident that crushed his legs. By then, Dubus III had found a new way to draw on the anger of the “semi-abandoned,” turning his punches into sentences. His compassionate memoir abounds with exquisitely rendered scenes of fighting, cheating, drugging, drinking and loving.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[Dubus’] reading is fluid and convincing, adding an intimacy to the account, making the listening especially cathartic.” Publishers Weekly (audio review)
“Dubus’ even voice wonderfully conveys the teenager’s formidable fighting experiences as well as the uncanny flashes of insight that led him to relinquish the urge to fight and to focus on his own writing.” AudioFile

Reviews

Reviews

by DND 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Beautiful Memoir

Andre Dubus III gives listeners a treat in Townie. Not only is the writing beautiful but the narration is perfect. He doesn’t hold anything back in the writing or in the narration. Through his voice you can feel the emotions, feel the pain, the anger, and the fight for survival.

Author

Author Bio: Andre Dubus III

Andre Dubus III is the author of the highly acclaimed, award-winning memoir Townie, a New York Times bestseller, and of the #1 New York Times bestseller House of Sand and Fog. Townie made the list of the best books of 2011 for Esquire, Salon, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Washington Examiner, and AudioFile. House of Sand and Fog, the basis for an Academy Award–nominated motion picture, was a fiction finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Book Sense Book of the Year, and an Oprah Book Club selection. His other works include a collection of short fiction, The Cage Keeper and Other Stories, and the novels Bluesman and The Garden of Last Days. His work has been included in The Best American Essays of 1994 and The Best Spiritual Writing of 1999. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Pushcart Prize, the National Magazine Award for fiction, and was a finalist for the Rome Prize Fellowship from the Academy of Arts and Letters. A member of PEN American Center, Dubus has served as a panelist for the National Book Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, has taught writing at Harvard, Tufts, and Emerson College, and is currently a full-time faculty member at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He is married to the performer Fontaine Dollas Dubus. They live in Massachusetts with their three children.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Runtime: 14.57
Audience: Adult
Language: English