The story of a broken down English department at a nondescript university. Russo is great at two things: the goings on between long-married couples, and places in decay. He puts them both together here and the story is often laugh out loud funny.
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.