‘Townie’ Author Dubus Returns to Haverhill for Hometown Talk at NECC Oct. 24

Andre Dubus discusses his new novel "Gone So Long" at Haverhill's Northern Essex Community College during an Oct. 24 fundraiser. (Courtesy photograph)

Andre Dubus discusses his new novel “Gone So Long” at Haverhill’s Northern Essex Community College during an Oct. 24 fundraiser. (Courtesy photograph)

“Townie” author Andre Dubus is coming home to Haverhill later this month to discuss his latest book “Gone So Long” with local readers during a Northern Essex Community College fundraiser on Wednesday, Oct. 24.

The native Hillie, who now resides in Newbury, tells WHAV his appearance at the community college’s annual Women of NECC membership tea will feature a Q&A session and signing starting at noon.

Gone So Long (W.W. Norton)

During the event, Dubus plans to read excerpts from his new novel—set at Salisbury Beach—about a man who murders his wife and tries to repair his fractured family relationships before dying of cancer. He previewed the story for WHAV.

“The main character murders his wife when they’re just starting out their life and the last time he sees his three-year-old is when the police rip her from his arms,” Dubus said of main character Daniel and his daughter Susan. “It’s been 40 years since he laid eyes on her and he’s now in his mid-60s dying of cancer. He wants to see her one last time before he dies. She lives in Florida, so that’s where he goes.”

Research into the Massachusetts prison system was done years ago for a “Boston Magazine” piece the author hopes to turn into a TV mini-series with the help of his 25-year-old screenwriter son Austin. One of the inmates he interviewed for that project proved integral to “Gone So Long,” Dubus tells WHAV.

“I met a man who did the worst possible thing to another human being and it happened to be his wife,” he recalled of interviewing inmates at Walpole and Norfolk. “I have particular hatred for male violence against women and kids and I asked him if he had any kids, and he said ‘Yes, but they don’t want to see me.’ The scenario’s so dark and I really wanted nothing to do with it, but as a father myself, I couldn’t imagine: What if you still love your kids, but they understandably want nothing to do with you?”

Currently on a national book tour to promote his novel, Dubus jumped at the chance to return to his hometown and, more specifically, Northern Essex After all, the novelist has long supported two-year colleges and currently teaches English at UMass Lowell.

“I’m a huge fan of Northern Essex Community College and two-year colleges in general,” said the author, who will appear at the UMass Haverhill iHub in December. “I really don’t like how they get a bad rap in society. They’re life-changing institutions and they save lives and they get people on the college path that wouldn’t normally be able to. I will always support Northern Essex and two-year colleges like it.”

Tickets to the Oct. 24 event with Dubus are $50 and available by calling the Northern Essex Office of Institutional Advancement at 978-556-3789.