This immediately became one of my favorite novels. The characters are interesting, funny, and completely believable. (If you have spent any time working in higher education, you will able to recognize the characters and their foibles from your own experience.) I cannot say enough good things about this novel.
I only have two regrets: (1) that Audible does not have all of the author's books in its library, and (2) that the reader has not recorded more books of interest to me (I am not a fan of Danielle Steel or Robert James Waller) - he did a great job.
Live in Sydney, Australia. South African heritage. Love audio books. Constant company on my non-stop business travels.
This came across as a little self-indulgent and, on reflection, a petty piece of writing. The microscopic ego driven pernickety nature of academic politics is almost cliched so found myself not relating to the characters. The story chugs along with a certain predictable banality and I was waiting for it to be over. Maybe I'm being a tad harsh. Maybe my expectations were too high. It was too contextually tight - was looking for broader relevance and insight into the thing called human being.
Russo has two subjects: academe and the working class, and he is equally at home and wry about both. This one is about academe and it's about the funniest in that line since Lucky Jim. Actually it has Lucky Jim licked coming and going, but then LJ is kind of dated. But it's in that mold. Zany maverick prof pulls every stunt he can think of to get himself turfed but just when it seems he's finally done it...well, you'll have to read it. You won't be sorry. This is America's funniest good novelist since Bellow in his Augie March days.
Richard Russo is one of the best writers living today. He's funny; he's witty; and he's insightful. I'd recommend any of his books. But this audio book is really worth the time. It got me from Orlando to Boston. You won't be disappointed.
Having thoroughly enjoyed 'Empire Falls' and 'Nobody
s Fool' and reading the raving reviews here, I was sorely disappointed in this BORING stream of first person 'cleverness' about nothing of interest.
I have a feeling that maybe this genre may appeal to academic insiders and admittedly, I dumped it at about the 4 hour mark. Maybe it gets better but I'll take a pass as no character or plot developed for me within my tolerable listening span.
This is a book about nothing. And not in the hilarious Seinfeld way. More in the snail's pace soap opera way. I don't see how this book ever got published since there is no character development, no plot, no thematic consistency. The book demonstrates a facility with language yet paradoxically has nothing to say. It's no more than a bunch of shallow, gossipy academics living out their daily trivialites with an occasional good laugh thrown in. But David Sedaris??? Not even close.
I was perhaps expecting too much when I heard this author was like John Irving, but I was still quite disappointed. The book lacks character development. Instead of following the main character through life and watching him grow, we follow a grumpy man while he stays grumpy and doesn't really learn anything new about himself. The book has some entertaining moments, but overall is a bore.
With such a high rating, I was anticipating a really good read but was sorely disappointed. The book is, frankly, boring. The dialogue is clever and the author has an excellent command of the language and sentence structure. Not enough I am afraid...I found myself shutting off this book to listen to other choices. Just did not hold my attention.