This book was one of the most satisfying modern tragedies I have ever read. Dubus's prose is both very good and (mostly) unobtrusive. Because I couldn't anticipate the ending, I had to keep reading, and then I couldn't stop even when a the situation moved to a point from which it clearly couldn't be redeemed.
I am surprised that so many people gave this book two stars and called it depressing. But, catharsis! I wonder if the reviewer who wrote,
What was the point? That's how I felt at the end. Only reason I gave it two stars and not one is that it did hold my interest, surprisingly.
wrote the same thing in her high school essay about <i>Macbeth</i>. It's fine if you can't handle one of the basic literary forms that has been around at least since the Ancient Greeks, and you prefer to read less challenging novels. But don't criticize the book for being a tragedy. That's like complaining that an opera has songs in it, or that a superhero movie has a lot of action. All these complaints tell us is how limited your tastes are, not whether or not the work under discussion is good.
Anyway, I really appreciate a story in which there aren't good guys and bad guys, just people with problems and passionately-held beliefs that aren't wrong per se but which turn out to be destructive in situations. I loved this book. Highly recommended.