Richard Russo, at the very top of his game, now returns to North Bath in upstate New York and the characters who made Nobody's Fool (1993) a "confident, assured novel" according to the San Francisco Chronicle back then. "Simple as family love, yet nearly as complicated." Or, as The Boston Globe put it, "a big, rambunctious novel with endless riffs and unstoppable human hopefulness".
The irresistible Sully, who in the intervening years has come by some unexpected good fortune, is staring down a VA cardiologist's estimate that he has only a year or two left, and it's hard work trying to keep this news from the most important people in his life: Ruth, the married woman he carried on with for years...the ultra-hapless Rub Squeers, who worries that he and Sully aren't still best friends...Sully's son and grandson, for whom he was mostly an absentee figure (and now a regretful one). We also enjoy the company of Doug Raymer, the chief of police who's obsessing primarily over the identity of the man his wife might've been about to run off with before dying in a freak accident...Bath's mayor, the former academic Gus Moynihan, whose wife problems are, if anything, even more pressing...and then there's Carl Roebuck, whose lifelong run of failing upward might now come to ruin. And finally there's Charice Bond - a light at the end of the tunnel that is Chief Raymer's office - as well as her brother, Jerome, who might well be the train barreling into the station.
Everybody's Fool is filled with humor, heart, hard times, and people you can't help but love, possibly because their various faults make them so stridently human. This is classic Russo - and a crowning achievement from one of the greatest storytellers of our time.
©2016 Richard Russo (P)2016 Random House Audio
"Mark Bramhall’s gorgeous narration of this deeply satisfying novel makes me wonder what it would be like for a great symphonic conductor to play all the instruments himself. Bramhall is superbly skilled and has a beautiful voice with amazing range, but what astonishes here is his humanity, not to mention sense of humor, as he brings Russo's entire town of North Bath, New York, to madcap life." (AudioFile)
I love Richard Russo's books, and my long-time favorite has been Nobody's Fool. When this sequel recently appeared in Audible's new fiction, I preordered it and started listening the moment it arrived. The motley crew is back, and it's been great fun following their escapades through Russo's exquisite prose. Mark Bramhall does a very fine job with the narration too. I highly recommend both books and would start with the first one. (To Mr Russo - thank you, and please write more often!)
I could not. Far too rich.
The captured interplay of personalities, and of a place, and its people, experiencing both personal and environmental change, and its extremely sly sense of humor. Oh, and the book sounds wonderful, and the dialog is memorable. As are some of its conclusions, and all of its characters.
He does a decent job of reading, and the book is meant to be read out loud. In that sense, like all of Russo, it's a prose poem.
I didn't get to, but it's the kind of book I would want with me, along with a pair sound-dampening headphones, on a long overnight international flight.
It's part of a group of books that I will read or listen to many times. It has already spurred me to go listen to Russo's earlier novels, even if I have read or listened to them before.
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
Be forewarned. This is like listening to paint drying. Or listening to (not watching) reruns of Seinfeld but all the funny stuff has been edited out. Or listening to a boring voice reading of Wikipedia listing of all of Russo's previous characters.
Russo may be a great author, but either he missed the boat on this one or I did. The first 5-6 hours of this tedious book barely mention Sully, who was such a great character in "Nobody's Fool" -- a book I enjoyed both as a listen and as a movie. It starts with the Judge's funeral, then Rub's life story, then Ramond's (the chief of police) life story, then on to one character after another that were part and parcel of NF. But really!!!
Just mark me disappointed. I had hoped for something much different, much better, and much more engaging. I got hours and hours of nothing special, if not downright awful.
What a great book. Russo just takes you and drops you into the little town to people-watch and eavesdrop to your heart's content. Loved the story, loved the characters. Just an excellent book.
Photographer, nature & water geek, music lover, book fiend.
He's that rarest of authors- one who commands every emotion in everything he writes. Though not as laugh out loud funny as Nobody's Fool, this telling of the same characters lives now farther down the stretch makes up for it in depth & richness in characters. Getting older diminishes the laughs a bit in real life, & this held true in this excellent novel. But when the laughs did come, often at unexpected moments, I found myself bursting out regardless of where I was:). Mark Bramhall was an excellent choice as narrator, doing all characters to perfection.
The male characters honestly reflect the wide variety of how men view and struggle with their relationships to the women in their life; from brutal violence to an obsession with sex to fear to honor and even love.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
This sequel to “Nobody’s Fool” has taken that story and moved 10 years down the road, continuing the examination of the citizens of Bath, New York. Lovers of the original will need to adjust to a shift in POV and emphasis away from Sully, although he remains a very strong presence.
Where in the original, Sully was Nobody’s Fool - living life on his own terms, scoffing at those who would change him - in the sequel, Doug Raymer is Everybody’s Fool, living with his finger perpetually in the air, testing the winds of others’ approval (or more likely disapproval). All of the familiar characters are here: Sully, Ruth, Rub, and Carl. There are new characters as well. But the main focus is on Raymer, the fool who 10 years ago discharged his gun at Sully for driving on the sidewalk. He is now Chief of Police, and somewhat less moronic about his police duties, but clearly struggling with self-doubt and insecurities about everything he does. The question is whether he can pull his life together and become the kind of man he always wished he could be.
Covering the events of only a few days, these characters all find themselves having to ponder the consequences of living flawed lives, making flawed decisions and living with the fallout. There is Russo’s usual dry ironic humor and a bit of silliness as Raymer gets caught in a couple of absurd situations. But there is an abundance of warmth and humanity as these small town neighbors come to understand and feel compassion for each other in spite of their pasts. Very character driven, Russo succeeds in bringing the cast to life and drawing the reader into the community. Read very well by Mark Bramhall, well recommended, but also recommend reading “Nobody’s Fool” first.
Russo yes, Bramhall not. In fact, I heartily recommend Nobody's Fool and Straight Man, each of which are masterpieces of storytelling. If you're reading this, save yourself an audio credit on this and go directly to one of those.
I have read and/or listened to several Richard Russo stories over the years, and this is the weakest of the lot. Russo himself seems to have lost track of who these characters are. In fairness, even though the story is set ten years later it was published nearly a quarter century after the first. It's a much older Russo that embarked on the telling, and his characters are full of the tired weariness that I can't help but think Russo himself was feeling as he wrote. Eventually something of a story gets going, but it took far too long to get to and in the end it seems to drift away from him again.
Not by choice. I sure missed Ron McClarty. Maybe Bramhall can't be faulted for the lesser story, but he is difficult to listen to, and his characterizations so indistinct that many times I found myself replaying passages trying to determine which character it was that was speaking.
Well Jerome for one. But in general it's all the old characters I knew from Nobody's Fool that just aren't themselves.It's like getting caught up on what happened to everyone in a neighborhood where you lived for a long time but had moved away many years ago, and the news about all of your old friends is bad. Even characters like Rub Squiers are somehow mishandled by Russo. At first I thought it was simply the narrator's lack of understanding, but he gets a pass on Rub developing a severe stammer in middle age. That's actually - and needlessly - written into the story by Russo. Poor Rub.
Richard Russo is one of my favorite authors, and Nobody's Fool was my favorite Richaro Russo book. In the dozen or so years that it was in my collection, I have listened to it at least a half a dozen times, the last of which was in late August when I happened by chance to find myself in the Town of Bath, NY. As comfortable as the characters are, so was Ron McClarty's voicing. So when I stumbled upon this sequel immediately after finishing Nobody's Fool, I couldn't have been happier. This happiness persisted all the way until I had downloaded the book and pressed play, whereupon I discovered nearly instantly that this book does not pick up where the joy of Nobody's Fool left off. Clearly, Mark Bramhall had never had a listen to Ron McClarty before he launched into the narration, but it's not only that. Russo himself seems to have lost track of who these characters are. Granted, I had high expectations for this book and that made the letdown worse. Still, I cannot recommend burning a credit on this sequel that, like Sully at 70, is a mere ghost of the proud younger version that came before.
When I saw that Mr. Russo had written a sequel to Nobody's Fool, one of my favorite books, I was excited. I admit it, I was hoping for a reunion. A lot happened in the intervening decade or so. Toby's gone. Carl inexplicably talks through his nose. Doug Raymer, that goofy cop, has grown a heart and half a brain. He's also honed his ability to whine. Rub works on the books. Zach and Ruth are still together. Janie still chooses deadbeat Neanderthals. Peter and Will are walk-offs. And what's up with the poisonous snakes?
There are moments of humor and sweetness, but now that Sully has money, his essential Sully-ness is gone. And Ms. Beryl and Wirf, Bath's Greek chorus, aren't there to remind him of it.
I got the unshakeable sense that Mr. Russo was wrapping up the loose ends, striking the tents, caging the beasts, and dusting off the whole business.
My unsolicited advice is to wait till this one is on sale.
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