Broken Vessels by Andre Dubus

By Andre Dubus

Written among 1977 and 1990, universally acclaimed once they seemed in Godine hardcover, and exploring matters as regards to domestic and shut to the bone, those twenty-two assorted essays exhibit the religious power and shrewdly lyrical prose for which Andre Dubus has been well-known worldwide.

Personal yet by no means indulgent, delicate yet by no means maudlin, those forays into Dubus's previous and current conjure up small worlds: a Catholic boyhood in Cajun Louisiana, the transcendental caliber of baseball, the success and slipperiness of lifestyles, the precarious enterprise of creating a residing by means of writing. those worlds are provided in a voice that's as strong because it is poignant, that by no means flinches from the stark realities that experience so coloured Dubus's fresh prior and private existence. in particular relocating are his descriptions of his youngsters, his wrenching account of the 1986 car coincidence that rate him his leg, and of the resultant fight for his non secular and actual survival.

Broken Vessels is a ebook that, in its scope and sympathy, its grace and braveness, by no means fails to startle with the unexpected influence of quiet truths, passionately felt and powerfully expressed.

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My father did an act where he hacked the wax away, cut into the cheese, sniffed and licked, and declared that it might be British Columbian soap. The food parcel was astonishing bounty and both generous and thoughtful, but it said little for life in Canada. The only thing I liked were the canned pilchards in a heavy tomato sauce. I straightaway assigned them to Captain Scott’s sledging rations. But the diet was a national worry, apparently. The British, the papers said, were not healthy. My mother was troubled by a kind of eczema—it was a rash with sores that affected her thighs and her arms.

Emergencies come and go, and it is my estimate that it might be wiser to lose the war than have to eat whale meat. Now I warm to Moby Dick as well as the next man, and I am certainly disposed to see many metaphors swimming with the whale. But whale meat—gray, rubbery, chewy, oily, fishlike—is a hazard. As I recall, England turned on the whale in a week. There may have been whale mountains somewhere rotting in the sun. You could not persuade the British to eat it. The papers said we had won the war the way they said Arsenal 1, Chelsea 2, but we had food rationing for years—into the 1950s, as I remember.

The British fleet isn’t what it used to be, and the ships are scattered all over the place. ’ And the King does his best at short notice. They can’t go to Scapa, but the King gets twenty or so ships to Spithead—and Joe seems very pleased. ’ he says. ’ “The King relaxes, and he tells Joe about a big treat. They’re going to see Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh do Macbeth—a command performance—the full flower of the English theater. “Joe frowns. ‘Hmm,’ he says. ’ “‘ But they’re not doing Hamlet at the moment, Joe,’ says the King.

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