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The Garden of Last Days: A Novel | [Andre Dubus III]

The Garden of Last Days: A Novel

Set in the seamy underside of American life at the moment before the world changed, it juxtaposes lust for domination with hunger for connection, sexual violence with family love. It seizes the listener by the throat with the same psychological tension, depth, and realism that characterized Andre Dubus' #1 bestseller, House of Sand and Fog, and has an even greater sense of the dark and anguished places in the human heart.
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Publisher's Summary

One early September night in Florida, a stripper brings her daughter to work. April's usual babysitter is in the hospital, so she decides it's best to have her three-year-old daughter close by, watching children's videos in the office, while she works.

Except that April works at the Puma Club for Men. And tonight she has an unusual client, a foreigner both remote and too personal, and free with his money. Lots of it, all cash. His name is Bassam.

Meanwhile, another man, A. J., has been thrown out of the club for holding hands with his favorite stripper, and he's drunk and angry and lonely.

From these explosive elements comes a relentless, raw, searing, passionate narrative, a big-hearted and painful novel about sex and parenthood and honor and masculinity.

Set in the seamy underside of American life at the moment before the world changed, it juxtaposes lust for domination with hunger for connection, sexual violence with family love. It seizes the listener by the throat with the same psychological tension, depth, and realism that characterized Andre Dubus' number-one best seller - House of Sand and Fog - and has an even greater sense of the dark and anguished places in the human heart.

©2008 Andre Dubus III; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (255 )
5 star
 (45)
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 (95)
3 star
 (58)
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3.6 (57 )
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Story
3.9 (59 )
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 (19)
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 (17)
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Performance
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  •  
    Jane D Centennial, CO, USA 12-10-08
    Jane D Centennial, CO, USA 12-10-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    147
    4
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    "A waste of time."

    I should have paid attention to the previous reviews. This book is boring. The diatribes of the terrorists were of absolutely no interest. The stripper but good girl is so clich?. The only character that held my attention in the slightest was A.J. This book just dose not compare with the House Between Sand and Fog. Not even close!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra 06-07-13
    Debra 06-07-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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    31
    15
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    3
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    Story
    "Disappointing, nothing like house of sand and fog"

    I kept listening thinking it was going to come together but it never did.This book has no purpose, the characters are uninteresting and the writer has you in each charaters head and they think and say the same things over and over and over again.
    What I especially didn't like was the little sound effect that was used everytime a person was supposed to be speaking on a phone, or calling from outside, or listening to a tape. It was ridiculous to have the reader suddenly sound like he was reading into a voice changer so we would know that the conversation was taking place on the telephone.
    I did not like anything about this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard New York, NY, United States 01-13-12
    Richard New York, NY, United States 01-13-12 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    49
    ratings
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    72
    14
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    5
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    Story
    "Thoughtless people doing foolish things"

    If you are really interested in learning what a 9/11 hijacker felt about America just before his 'big event', here's the book for you. (hint; he's conflicted about women and Americans.)

    Otherwise join a group of emotionally damaged people as they go from one mistake to another. Each step is preceded by such deluded justification that it made me want to slap them. Like 'what part of essentially kidnapping a child from from a strip joint's parking lot and then giving her Benadryl to calm down' did you think was a good idea?

    I rarely give up on books once I start, but boy, this was a challenge.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chernow Austin, TX, United States 09-16-11
    Chernow Austin, TX, United States 09-16-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    7
    5
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    "An enthralling slice of life novel"

    Here is a lovely book about unlovely people - flawed people, living fairly mundane lives. Ever wonder about the motivation that led a person to make a poor decision with terrible consequences? That is, in part, what this novel explores.

    The well-developed characters - from a woman who must bring her child to work when her regular babysitter is hospitalized (it happens to many of us, but in this case, 'work' is a strip club) to a man who honestly believes that what he is about to do as one of the hijackers in the 9/11 terrorist attack is a holy act - are believable if not likable. The multiple storylines are thought-provoking and are, for most of the characters, stories of growth, change and redemption in sometimes surprising ways.

    Mr Dubus doesn't overlook detail nor does not dwell on or exploit the horror of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. When he writes so intimately from the female perspective, one could forget the author is male. While the character of the terrorist is not a sympathetic character, he is drawn so well that we come to understand that he is a multidimensional human being, capable of love and fear, craving the approval of his family and his spiritual leaders.

    The narrator, Dan John Miller, is to be commended. His well-modulated voice conveys just the right amount of emotion without inserting himself into the story. His accents - particularly when he's reading the role of the southern men - are genuine. I plan to sample some of the other books he has narrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary K Austin, TX, USA 07-20-10
    Mary K Austin, TX, USA 07-20-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    11
    3
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    "Sad story mostly, about sad people"

    This was a sad story about some sad and stupid people making some really poor choices.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darleen Sheridan, WY, USA 03-28-10
    Darleen Sheridan, WY, USA 03-28-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    9
    3
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    "Stultifying"

    Beyond boring, characters that are the ultimate losers and who do nothing to change your view of them, an author (if I may use that term loosely) in love with his own prose. Run for your life and do NOT bother with this.

    The reader isn't too bad except he doesn't know how to pronounce "Moet" instead saying mo-ette. About the 20th time he mispronounced it I wanted to slam my iPod through the floor.

    I wish I had known how dreadful this was, I would have saved my money. It's been sitting in my iPod for 2 years. I should have let it sit, unlistened to, and turned on some music instead.



    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott & Cissy Wolfe 07-18-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    49
    6
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    Overall
    "Disappointing"

    I also loved House of Sand and Fog, but read that book instead of listening to the audio version so I don't know if that made a difference. I found the story somewhat interesting and once I got into it, I wanted to see it through. I do agree with many of the other reviewers...I did not like any of the characters and although I found the story somewhat interesting, I didn't really find myself very interested in what happened to any of them. I thought the narrator was okay, but I really disliked the way he narrated for the women. He made them all sound exactly alike, whiny, and the although the dialogue may have been written well, the way he emphasized certain words and tried to convey emotion made most of the female dialogue sound fake, contrived and not believable.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D.G. San Ramon, CA 07-13-08
    D.G. San Ramon, CA 07-13-08 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    36
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    "Drawn Out and Pointless"

    This book really felt like a waste of time. All of the characters are uninteresting, average, everyday people, including the highjacker. They're self-absorbed and whiny and it is very difficult, from the first moment, to really care what happens to them. The whole book felt like I was watching some yokel being interviewed on the news and feeling embarrassed to be watching it. The use of September 11th as a backdrop feels cheap, given the shallowness of the characters.

    The narrator was okay, though he did make the women awfully whiny, though I never could decide whether that was his fault or the author's.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lyn LADY LAKE, FL, United States 07-09-08
    Lyn LADY LAKE, FL, United States 07-09-08 Member Since 2007

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    75
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    "Another winner"

    This is a favorite author of mine, he can really involve me in a character and story line no matter how diverse.I find myself caring about a struggling underachiever as well as a failing widow or a devout Moslem. This story reminded me of Spike Lee's "Do the Right thing" Everyone doing their best and the results vary from devastating to redeeming.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 07-04-08
    Kim Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 07-04-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    179
    10
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    "shallow character sketches and whiny women"

    I wouldn't recommend this title for several reasons, not the least of which there are no sympathetic characters (I disliked all of them) and the narrator makes all the female characters sound whiny and weak, which is bloody annoying. Also, a large part of the book came off as misogynistic (using the C and W words in steady stream). And the use of the hijacking of the planes in the attack on the twin towers just to add some kind of a climax at the end seemed cheap and out of place. Even though this is a dark, somewhat depressing book, I was happy that the author stayed away from getting truly depraved with one of the story lines, and thus I gave it an extra star just for that.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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