The Author Reads from "The Garden of Last Days"

Andre Dubus III is an American writer of fiction and memoir. His 1999 novel House of Sand and Fog lounged for 20 weeks on The New York Times’s Bestseller List in 2000 and 2001 and became a feature film in 2003. His 2008, based-on-real-events novel The Garden of Last Days explores the final days of one of the 9/11 terrorists, who chose to spend them indulging in the sins of the West. His 2012 memoir Townie is a profound meditation on the nature of violence.  Born in 1959, Dubus obtained his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Texas. Before succeeding as a writer, he worked odd jobs as a carpenter, bounty hunter, and bartender.

  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Andre Dubus III: Well, there is one little section I read only once--but I kind of like it because it has to do with this duality that it seems a lot of these characters seem to wrestle with. Two or three of them have a couple of names they use, you know, Bassaam's got a nom de guerre and his given name; she's got her stage name ... there's all this duality going on. So there's just a section where she kind of talks about the two names or the two sides. "Most nights, April used the music and shook her head as if she hadn't heard. Other nights, she talked right through his question, asked if he wanted his private right there in the private darkness at the blue-lit entry of the VIP, just her and him and the shadows. Some nodded yes, their eyes already on her body she'd never stopped moving, because you should never stop moving. If you did you were just standing there talking. Your body getting cold, the beat and rhythm leaving your muscles, but worse than that it was harder to stay Spring if she stopped. If she stopped moving and started talking it was too easy for April to come out, to be her, just April standing there in a smoky club in a skirt and blouse talking when she wasn't here to talk and hated it whenever that's what a man wanted in the VIP. Why not stay home and talk to his wife? But if she just smiled and took their belly and danced off her clothes, then she was Spring. Breasts and flat belly, ass and thighs and long swinging hair and big smile. Every one of them could look and look at those and she, April, could stay inside in that dark quiet part of herself that wasn't here at all and had never been, was back home with her daughter, though tonight her daughter Frannie was in Tina's office. And as April danced now in the VIP for a fat man in a loosened tie, she was really with her baby on Tina's couch, the two of them eating ice cream and watching Ariel fall in love with a prince on land who would love her forever, if only she'd come join him."

Recorded on: 6/11/08

 


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