The Book Bench: The Exchange: Andre Dubus III : The New Yorker

by Scott Smith

The most difficult part of writing the book was not writing about me, but about my family. I don’t want to violate their privacy. But I left out so much of the family darkness in the first draft that I read it and thought, Well, this is a stinking lie. I was at a brunch with Richard Russo, and was telling him about how tortured I was about letting my family’s darkness into the book. He gave me some great advice: he told me to ask myself if I was trying to settle a score with anyone. If the answer was no, I should go ahead and write it all. And that was the best thing I could hear.

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