cover image Ghost Dogs: On Killers and Kin

Ghost Dogs: On Killers and Kin

Andre Dubus III. Norton, $28.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-324-00044-0

Novelist Dubus (Such Kindness) expounds in this sharp collection of personal essays on the writer’s life, the vulnerability of loving others, and the passage of time. “The Door” recounts how Dubus’s worries about becoming jaded in fatherhood dissipated during a tense race to get his four-week-old son surgical care for a life-threatening birth defect, with the author’s profound dread over losing his son even driving him to pray despite not believing in God. “All the way to our June wedding, I vacillated between hope and black terror,” Dubus writes in “A Letter to My Two Sons on Love,” which describes how Dubus fell in love with his wife and worried that his passion for her would expose him to “pain and loss and an acute loneliness.” Aside from a noirish essay on Dubus’s brief stint as a bounty hunter in his early 20s, the pieces are largely tender and contemplative, such as when Dubus muses on the relationship between writing and mortality while recalling a quiet 1988 conversation at a literary awards ceremony between his novelist father and Raymond Carver while both were in declining health (“I think of how death is forever stalking the creative writer to get his or her work done, no matter how he or she feels about it”). Dubus’s sinewy prose strengthens his probing meditations on the inextricable relationship between love and loss. Readers will be moved. (Mar.)