Half a century ago, readers of the New Yorker thirsted for the short stories of John Cheever for the window he opened into suburban life and the tensions he exposed between an emerging post-scarcity society and the vanishing World War II way of life that fertilized his stories. That role today might be assigned to Andre Dubus III. Best known for his novel House of Sand and Fog, the movie version of which, starring Ben Kingsley, earned three Academic Award nominations, in Dirty Love, as in his other works, Dubus mines the tension between generations and the widening gap between traditional behavioral norms and today’s technologically-driven anything-goes code.
Dirty Love consists of four interconnected novellas. In “Listen Carefully, As Our Options Have Changed,” Mark Welch, a fifty-year-old project manager, has discovered his wife is having an affair.