Today’s spotlighted book is from a talented author I have enjoyed: Andre Dubus III, with The Garden of Last Days.
Intro: Late Summer – ’01
April drove north on Washington Boulevard in the late-afternoon heat. She passed housing developments behind acacia and cedar trees, Spanish moss hanging from their limbs like strings of dead spiders. Between her legs was the black coffee she’d bought at the Mobil station on the way out of town and it was too hot to drink, the sun still shining bright over the Gulf and blinding her from the side like something she should’ve seen coming, like Jean getting laid up and now there’s no one to watch Franny and no calling in sick at the Puma. And little Franny was strapped in her car seat in the back, tired and happy with no idea how different tonight will be, how strange it could be.
Teaser: April’s legs felt heavy, her upper body stiff. She shouldn’t’ve stopped at all. Shouldn’t’ve brought Franny. Should’ve taken her chances and taken the loss and called in sick; now she was moving just to move, to move back into Spring, and there, a few tables ahead, was one of Wendy’s regulars smiling up at her. (p. 69).
Amazon Description: From the author of the New York Times bestseller and Oprah’s Book Club selection House of Sand and Fog–a new big-hearted, painful, page-turning novel.
One early September night in Florida, a stripper brings her daughter to work. April’s usual babysitter is in the hospital, so she decides it’s best to have her three-year-old daughter close by, watching children’s videos in the office, while she works.
Except that April works at the Puma Club for Men. And tonight she has an unusual client, a foreigner both remote and too personal, and free with his money. Lots of it, all cash. His name is Bassam. Meanwhile, another man, AJ, has been thrown out of the club for holding hands with his favorite stripper, and he’s drunk and angry and lonely.
From these explosive elements comes a relentless, raw, searing, passionate, page-turning narrative, a big-hearted and painful novel about sex and parenthood and honor and masculinity. Set in the seamy underside of American life at the moment before the world changed, it juxtaposes lust for domination with hunger for connection, sexual violence with family love. It seizes the reader by the throat with the same psychological tension, depth, and realism that characterized Andre Dubus’s #1 bestseller, House of Sand and Fog–and an even greater sense of the dark and anguished places in the human heart.
I’ve just started reading this one, but I can’t wait to see it all unfold.
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