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Infinite Joe

I like challenging books that make you think, and leave you happy that you did. Typically, I find character driven literary fiction the most satisfying, although I in no way think of myself as a serious literary critic.

Currently reading

Unaccustomed Earth
Jhumpa Lahiri
Progress: 282/333 pages

We Don't Live Here Anymore: Three Novellas

We Don't Live Here Anymore - Andre Dubus, Larry Gross, Andre Dubus III Meh.

I liked it, but thought it was only OK.

Two couples that are friends cheat on each other with the other’s spouse. Everyone gets found out and one couple decides to stay together, while the other tries to have an open marriage that ultimately ends up in divorce. The second two stories follow the characters from the open marriage/divorce. The ones that stay together are only mentioned less than a handful of times in the following two stories, and to be honest, that’s the couple I was more interested in following. Four pages from the end of the book, we get two sentences of detail on the fate of that relationship, which I find difficult to swallow, and in need of an explanation that we never get.

The first novella had some promise. Although the situation with the chain-smoking adulterers seemed a little far-fetched, I guess it could (and probably has) happened in the history of failed marriages, so over-looking that, the writing was good (but not outstanding), the story was good, and we saw the emotions and self-justifications of the characters, which I thought was done rather well.

The second novella lost me. I understood where the author was going in having the woman in the open marriage date a dying ex-priest, but it made the story less believable, the story was dull, and once the ex-priest started expounding on his relationship with Christ and the Eucharist, I finished the rest of the story in a drool-dripping fugue.

The last novella picked things back up just a little, with the post-divorce struggles of the man previously in the open marriage, who was the initial adulterer (prior to the first inter-couple adultery), and the primary cause of the ruined relationships. We witness his catharsis, his emerging as a new man, the book ends with a scene between him and his 19-year old girlfriend, and I put the book down, and think to myself...