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Moving Toward Redemption

Spirituality and Disability in the Late Writings of Andre Dubus (1936–1999)


Andrea Ivanov-Craig

American short-story writer Andre Dubus (1936–1999) was a “writer’s writer.” His acclaimed collections of short stories and essays involve one or all of three thematic discourses – that of the Catholic Church as center of meaning and value, the symbolic and healing power of rites and ritual on the human heart, and the ethical and spiritual dilemmas that drive human experience. “Like Chekhov’s” reports the Village Voice, “Dubus’s best stories contain the arc of a whole life in the language of specific moments.” Tobias Wolff summarized, “Andre Dubus is a master.” In 1986, however, Dubus lost the use of his legs when he attempted to help a stranded motorist on the highway.  The spiritual, physical and emotional suffering which ensued kept him from writing for a time but eventually led to his authoring 17 stories before his death in 1999. Moving Toward Redemption is a critical six-chapter study of these stories as they are united as capstones to his previous work, as they participate in the Catholic cycle of sin, suffering and sacramentality, and as they individually address the various transformations of his life in the aftermath of the accident. Moving Toward Redemption is the only book on Dubus’s writing since Thomas Kennedy’s A Study of the Short Fiction (1988). It is designed for use in courses on short fiction, religion and literature, life writing, genre study, and disability studies. It suggests ways to negotiate the conflicts and tensions between Christian and secular approaches to disability studies.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Ivanov-Craig, Andrea, author. Title: Moving toward redemption: spirituality and disability in the late writings of Andre Dubus (1936–1999) / Andrea Ivanov-Craig. Other titles: Spirituality and disability in the late writings of Andre Dubus Description: New York: Peter Lang. Series: Studies in literary criticism and theory; v. 24 | ISSN 1073-2004 Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2016008850 | ISBN 978-1-4331-3328-2 (hardcover: alk. paper) ISBN 978-1-4539-1786-2 (ebook pdf) | ISBN 978-1-4331-3742-6 (epub) ISBN 978-1-4331-3743-3 (mobi) | DOI 10.3726/b10503 Subjects: LCSH: Dubus, Andre, 1936–1999—Criticism and interpretation. Spirituality in literature. | Catholicism in literature. | Disabilities in literature. Classification: LCC PS3554.U265 Z73 | DDC 813/.54—dc23 LC record available at Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at

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