Hardcover ✓ Requiem, Mass. PDF Ö


Requiem, Mass. John Dufresne takes us to Requiem, Mass heart of the Commonwealth, where Johnny s mom, Frances, is driving in the breakdown lane once again She thinks Johnny and his little sister Audrey have been replaced by aliens she s sure of it, and she s pretty certain that she herself is already dead, or she wouldn t need to cover the stink of her rotting flesh with Jean Nat Apres Bain Dad, truck driver and pathological liar, is down South somewhere living his secret life And Audrey, when she s not walking her cat Deluxe in a baby stroller, spends her time locked in a closet telling herself stories Johnny, meanwhile, is hell bent on saving the family from itselfIn his truly original voice Miami Herald and with the miraculous beauty of his tale telling New York Times Book Review , Dufresne brings his unparalleled eye for the tragic and the absurd to the dysfunctions and joys of family in this powerful new novel Not as good as LPL. This book is fiction disguised as autobiography The author, after becoming a reasonably successful writer, decides to take the time to tell the story of his childhood, parts of which have appeared in his fiction in different guises.The book begins in a light hearted enough way, with the author recounting a childhood that has marked similarities to those related by Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris Yes, the mother is crazy, the two kids try to hold things together while being wrapped up in t This book is fiction disguised as autobiography The author, after becoming a reasonably successful writer, decides to take the time to tell the story of his childhood, parts of which have appeared in his fiction in different guises.The book begins in a light hearted enough way, with the author recounting a childhood that has marked similarities to those related by Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris Yes, the mother is crazy, the two kids try to hold things together while being wrapped up in their own idiosyncrasies, and the father is pretty much a non presence This part of the book was interesting, though it seemed a little weird, too, on account of its covering about the same ground as the two authors mentioned earlier Especially considering the book is a fiction book It is as if, a la Angela s Ashes, a well known author had made up an autobiography where he was a poor Irish immigrant with a heavy drinking father growing up in New York in the middle of the century.I thought that maybe this was some kind of commentary by Mr Dufresne, perhaps a way of making fun of the currently popular trend of telling the story of your crazy childhood That was the only reason I could imagine for making up something so close to what someone else has already described as true But in reading the book, I couldn t see any kind of real commentary that was being made, and it wasn t really very ironic or funny, so maybe I was wrong about this I guess I just didn t understand what the point was.As the story goes on, the isolation of the children becomes less engaging anddepressing Meanwhile, the author begins to insert snatches of images from his present life, often in a kind of stream of consciousness way In one part we have the author interviewing for a job position in another town, then talking to an old colleague, then imagining what would happen if his dog died, then thinking about the My Lai Massacre, then realizing at the job interview that the job has already been given to someone else, then ordering food with his colleague, then going to some kind of faculty party, etc etc etc.All meaning begins to dissolve as the book continues, and all we are left with are snippets of increasingly sad scenes, with the young author the only bright, sane spot trying to hold everything together Finally, everything stops and we are completely back in the present day, only to find that all the family members have gone on to lonely or sad or pathetic fates, and that each of them seems to blame the author, for some reason.There were many parts of this book that I didn t understand, but the feelings of the mother and sister toward the author, at the end of the book, were the most inexplicable It made me wonder if I had missed some significant meaning in the text I d read so far Perhaps the book was supposed to work on some level above my understanding, and I will be the first to admit that this is probably the case, but what that level is, or what the meaning is supposed to be, I simply have no idea Technically, the writing was very good, and the author certainly has an ability to capture moments with feeling and precision These abilities of Mr Dufresne are enough to make me want to try another of his books, though I was certainly disappointed with this one I loved Dufresne s book on writing and he did follow his own instruction, but this book did not make it There was some clever dialog and prose but overall it did not capture this reader. Someday I will learn that I don t have to finish a book that I heartily dislike after only a few chapters Until then, I torture myself with gems like this that strive to be some sort of meta Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood but set in New England so it s not as endearing in that weird way that messed up Southerners are to me Blech There were darling bits with the loopy sister who pushes her cat in a stroller, but mental illness and the effects of a mother with one on her children does Someday I will learn that I don t have to finish a book that I heartily dislike after only a few chapters Until then, I torture myself with gems like this that strive to be some sort of meta Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood but set in New England so it s not as endearing in that weird way that messed up Southerners are to me Blech There were darling bits with the loopy sister who pushes her cat in a stroller, but mental illness and the effects of a mother with one on her children doesn t automatically make for good reading, especially with long pointless non sequiturs from the narrator.The title was too cutesy to be trusted, anyway

  • Hardcover
  • 320 pages
  • Requiem, Mass.
  • John Dufresne
  • English
  • 05 September 2019
  • 0393057909

About the Author: John Dufresne

John Dufresne teaches in the Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing program at Florida International University He is a French Canadian born in America.


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