Dubin's Lives by Bernard Malamud
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Malamud was an exceptional writer. So exceptional, it seems, that he was able to craft a novel about marriage and infidelity for an exhausting 386 pages and still keep my interest for the majority of the ride. Though, I must say, this is the fifth book I've read of his (I've also read The Natural, The Fixer, The Assistant, and The Tenants), and also my least favorite, mostly because of its redundancy. No lie, this book could have been trimmed by at least 100 less pages. At least!
And while yes, I know this book is about much more than love and marriage - Dubin is a biographer, so the title is a bit of a play on words -it just didn't do it for me. Something was just missing, and it was pretty glaring. It may have been the protagonist, since I felt no sympathy for him whatsoever. He was a bit of a scumbag.
Besides marriage and cheating, this book also has a heavy focus on masculinity and the idea of aging. But honestly, the concepts in this book are long and drawn out, and even with the beautiful prose that Malamud provides, it's hard to look at the book in its entirety and put it on the same level as, say, The Fixer or The Assistant. It's definitely worth a read, but not if it's the first book you're going to read of Malamud's. That should be The Fixer.
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