Book Review: Such Kindness by Andre Dubus III


Book Review: Such Kindness by Andre Dubus III

“I used to be something, I guess. But I’m trying to let go of all that.”

Tom Lowe always thought everything would be all right as long as he worked hard enough. He had a wife and son, a home he’d built with his own hands, a future that seemed within reach, despite the nagging whispers that the arm of his bank loan might one day push it all from him.

Then, in a careless moment seeded by mounting financial precariousness, he fell off a roof during a construction job. Painkillers followed. Addiction. The inability to work. And then he lost his wife and son.

Such Kindness by Andre Dubus III opens with Tom, years later, attempting to rob the bank agent who’d help take Tom’s life from him. He’s enlisted the aid of Trina, the young mother next door to his government housing apartment, and Jamey, her sometime boyfriend.

So begins Tom’s odyssey to reconnect with his son, who’s turning twenty, and for whom Tom wants only to secure a vehicle so he can be with his son and buy him dinner. Tom’s choices, however, come with consequences, both for him and his young friends.

Any release from Dubus is an event. He looks hard at his characters, but there’s kindness, too, in his approach, and the kindness that Tom begins to finally see and accept in the world is something I will take from this complex work. This author is one of the best, period, and his writing affects me profoundly. Such Kindness is another startling achievement.

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