I think I must have started to read Dubin's Lives by Malamud at least three times but never got more than a few pages. Now that I have read it I don't know why I found it hard to read the first times. Actually, it's very easy to read, though I have to say it's not a book I would have picked for the "top 99".
Maybe it's because I'm not married and I don't feel middle-aged yet, but I never really connected with this books. William Dubin seems to be an oridinary enough man — married since more than twenty years, with two grown up children. Then he meats the twenty-year-old Fanny Bick, falls in love with her, which he tries to hide from his wife Kitty. The thing is that to both the reader and Kitty it's obvious that something is wrong, but Dubin is stonewalling everything.
The stonewalling worked okay at the beginning (as a mean to convince the reader of some kind of authenticity, I mean) but it just went on and on, and I noticed that I found it harder and harder to keep reading.
Then nothing much happens until the book suddenly comes to an end, when I would have wanted at least one more chapter. (Maybe there is some deep correspondence between this suddend ending and the life of D.H. Lawrence, which biography Dubin is writing. I don't know anything about Lawrence, but some developments in Dubin's Lives seem to have something to do with the life of Lawrence.)
Peter Andrén, 2009-04-28
Copyright © 2009 Peter Andrén