Monday, August 18, 2008
The Garden of Last Days (2008)
I usually balk at large books but I had made a commitment to read Andre Dubus III's new book. (His surname is pronounced "Duh-BYOOSE", with the accent on the second syllable to rhyme with the noun "excuse." ) When I saw the size and the short time the library was going to let me keep it, I worried about even starting to read it; however, I am glad I was courageous enough to read the first page because that was all it took to hook me. (I owe fines at the library now.)
If you've read House of Sand and Fog, you will be familiar with the structure of the story. We are introduced to a variety of characters whose lives intertwine increasingly more tightly. Decisions are made that have unintended consequences culminating in readers holding their breath to see where this wild ride will end.
April is a single mother with a charming three year old named Frannie. They live in an apartment upstairs from Jean, who takes care of Frannie while her mother works. April strips in a men's club in Florida. One night when Jean is ill, April takes Frannie to work with her and that single decision leads to everything that happens in The Garden of Last Days.