I started reading this book in 2003 or so when it first came out and it felt like a big huge book that became too much to take on at the time. I realize now that the story is much smaller, and part of that bigness probably comes from the kind of expansive and misleading opening section, and the fact that I was looking through a long view of my future life and not seeing a lot of familiarity with the first few chapters. I am not a divorced dad in a small town, but I am close to the […]
69. Die Trying by Lee Child (3 stars) I’m not entirely sure why I keep returning to these kinds of books. I don’t know what “kind” of book it is, other than “airport fiction”. You know the kind; the mass market vaguely defined fiction that goes down easy without leaving much of an aftertaste. Easily digested and forgettable, these books cover the literary landscape without leaving any kind of quantifiable mark. They exist to sell books, and they sell books because they exist. I don’t mean this to be acidic. I have nothing against Lee Child or Jack Reacher (or […]
Richard Russo is a masterful storyteller. I always enjoy falling into one of his novels, filled with a rich cast of characters. He manages to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary, as he examines common people in small town Americana. This book is a sequel to “Nobody’s Fool” that I read back in 2011. I took a look at that review to see what I had to say about it, as a precursor to this novel. “Russo is one of my favorite authors because of his ability to weave incredible narratives with layered and believable characters. It almost feels […]
I have a soft spot in my heart for Richard Russo and his ability to make hapless and problematic white men, often working-class white men, likeable protagonists. These men make questionable choices, they have huge blind spots about themselves and others, and they exasperate the women in the their lives quite a bit. Yet, they are enjoyable to spend time with, perhaps because at their core, there is decency. In Everybody’s Fool, the sequel of sorts to Nobody’s Fool, Russo returns to the small upstate New York town of North Bath, where most folks are down on their luck and […]
Let’s get one thing out of the way before we review this book. This novel was adapted into a perfect movie. A perfect movie staring the inimitable Paul Newman. No, not that Paul Newman. He’s a few years older. Nope, keep going. Pretty close. But less huggable. More irascible. A Paul Newman who’s been through the ringer a few times. A Paul Newman who’s going through a stupid streak, and knows it won’t end until he’s messed things up completely. A Paul Newman who, while charming and endearing in his own way, is pig-headed and generally regarded as an asshole […]
I read Richard Russo’s Empire Falls a few years ago and described it as a slow burn. I put it down several times, thinking I was bored with it, but after a few days, I found myself thinking about the characters and then devouring 150 pages at a time. Mohawk had the same effect on me, only reduced by about 50%. Set in Mohawk, NY, a dying northern industrial town, Mohawk is very much like Empire Falls in that it’s not really about anything other than the stories of the town’s residents. There are unhappy marriages, unhappy wives, unhappy factory […]
You guys. This book. It was the weirdest mixed bag of WTFery and blah and intrigue that I’ve read in a long time. It was deeply confusing to read, and I experienced a lot of conflicting emotions (anger, boredom, anger, fear, bemusement) while reading. Let’s dig in, shall we? And of course, because I’m opportunistic, I left all the good stuff on my blog: the shade throwing, the snark, and a special guest star who expresses her disdain over the way women were treated in this book. It’s worth it, I promise.
Richard Russo is one of my favorite authors. His ability to take you on a meandering tale, and keep you engaged, is unparalleled. He is a true master storyteller and one of a kind. I read his later novels first but this, his second book, holds up against all the rest. Though I was never a real fan of the series Russo’s writing always reminds me of Seinfeld, the show about nothing. There are never any grand plot twists: his novels are about the simplicity of humans and the complications of trying to make your way. This is a story […]