© 1993 Richard Russo; (P) 2003 Random House, Inc.
"Russo is a master craftsman....The blue-collar heartache at the center of [his] fiction has the sheen of Dickens but the epic levity of John Irving....Nobody's Fool is a big, rambunctious novel with endless riffs and unstoppable human hopefulness." (The Boston Globe)
"...confident, assured novel sweeps the reader up in the daily life of its characters." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"A delight." (Library Journal)
What is it like to be a 60-year Old man who has always avoided responsibility? Sully is that person in the book Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo. A person who everybody loves and hates, to varying degrees, and who deserves both, Sully finds that all of those responsibilities come to haunt him, along with thoughts of his abusive father, who Sully is slowly becoming as he spirals from the fear of responsibility, from the pain of his wrecked body, and from a reliance on alcohol and pain killers.
For a man who has always avoided responsibility, it is a difficult time. He is needed by his son Peter, who he has never shown any interest in, his ex-wife Vera, who hates him, and a grandson who he can't help loving. There are also the needs of his best friend Rub, his elderly landlady, his long-time girlfriend and her family,and various other characters who walk through his life and who he helps, even while doling out servings of his acid-tongued wit indiscriminately, unsparingly, and to great and horrible effect.
The narrator of this book displays amazing skill. There are many characters, all well written, in this book, and he brings life to all of them, adding to the author's fine description.
A lot happens in this book, but it is not written on a grand scale. It is a story of one man, and one town and by the end you love and hate them both, and wish that the story would go on forever.
Russo captures what it is to be human through his look at the denizens of this quirky small town. The book is funny and sad and made me want to move into this town and go drink coffee with these people.
It sounds cliche but seriously: You'll laugh, you'll cry and it will become part of you.
This is a book about quirky characters and the intertwining of their lives in a small town. You just know these are real people. Don't expect lots of action here but if you love a writer who is a real craftsman with words, one who clearly loves his characters and makes you love them too then this book is for you. Funny, sad, warm and enchanting. I'll listen to it over and over.
This is one of the finest books I've read in many years. After reading Empire Falls, I picked up all of Russo's books, and Nobody's Fool is by far the most accomplished. The portrayals of both the main character, a 60-something guy whose life has passed him by, and the minor characters, are brilliant. Nothing much happens in this book, whose story covers just a few days, but it is a heart-warming, humanist story.
Listening to this audiobook version brought back all the subtleties in Russo's writing. While it took me a while to get used to the reader, in the end I feel he has the perfect voice for this story. This book is long, and slow, and you just want it to continue for a longer time. But it's about real life, and life doesn't last forever.
I read several of the reviews here and wasn't sure if I was willing to commit to such a long book about "nothing". I can tell you now that I'm very glad I DID commit to it.
I had no expectations for this book other than wanting to hear a good story. This IS a good story. The characters are well-defined and very easy to picture in your mind. The story itself is basically about people in a small town and what their daily ups and downs are. No, it's NOT boring! You will be drawn into the lives of these people, and I promise you that you will laugh and cry and become completely sucked into this book.
Donald "Sully" Sullivan is the main character and his interactions with various people - from old Hattie at the diner to his ex-wife's new husband, Ralph, to his narcissistic boss, Carl and his hilariously stupid, best friend, Rub - Sully is man who can be gentle or sarcastic or loving or downright hilarious. I don't know why another reader said they didn't like Sully. I sure do. I suspect you will as well.
If you are looking for something that simply provides a good story in every sense of the word, this is the book for you. It's true, there is no murder mystery or crime (other than petty theft, illegal parking and one domestic issue), there isn't a lot of blood and gore, there isn't even really any sex. To be honest, it's something special to come across a gem like this without all that stuff.
I have to say I'm surprised by others bad reviews, but that's what makes us all different I guess.:) I loved this book. Much more than Empire Falls (which earned him a Pulitzer). His character development and caring for them was brilliant. That fact that Sully doesn't change is what makes it wonderful. Things changed around Sully. No Disney ending here, with I've been wrong, now I'm better off for it stuff. Just plain, simple life. And I love his explanation of the "stupid streak" coming on. You know it's wrong, you know it's going to screw things up, but you just can't help yourself sometimes.:)
First, I need to say this is not an "action" story. It's about ordinary people living in a small, depressed town in NY State. The author has created such wonderful characters, quirky and loveable and frustrating in their humanity. And totally believable. It's a long listen, and I found it took a couple of hours to get to know the characters enough to care. But I was richly rewarded for sticking in there and found myself unable to stop listening later in the tale. The interactions of the characters is frequently entertaining, the story poignant, sad, and uplifting at the same time - an amazing glimpse of human foibles, love, forgiveness, and redemption. I highly recommend it and will certainly try another of this authors titles.
Excellent story and excellent reader. I truly was captivated by this story and the telling. Ron McClarty has so many voices and nuances just right for the telling of this type of story. I will "read" anything he "reads".
As a former English major I would have scoffed at anyone listening to audio books. Worse than Cliff Notes I would have said. Now as a parent and working in sales with hours spent in the car I must confess a passion for the spoken word and Richard Russo can not be beat I have "read" Empire Falls,
and Straight Man "my favorite" I find his characters so full of compassion and humanity that by the end of his story I want to meet these people to follow their lives. He reminds me of Steinbeck with his roots in lives of the average
man, woman, and child. Flawed like us all yet with
the determination to move forward. I would strongly endorse this man's words; If you are humble enough to remember your own roots, or interested enough to spend time in another's
shoes this story is wonderful.
How was I going to possibly relate to or care about Sully, a 60 year old, unmotivated, self-focused boor and his small town - seemingly so different and removed from my life - for a 24 hour "read"? I was told in one these reviews that Russo writes like Wally Lamb, one of my favorites - so I launched in. Not a bad comparison of authors. Russo takes us on a pleasant, meandering journey through the town of North Bath, New York and by the end of the story we get to know the characters of this town intimately, and guess what? I like this blue collar town; it reminds me a lot of my own. And as for Sully; he reminds me alot of me.
"Wonderful, masterful and wholly convincing"
Wow, this book was absolutely wonderful! It's long, and so it took me an hour or so to get into it, but once it took hold it drew me right in, and by the time I started on the third part I was already regretting the fact that it was eventually going to end.
I've not read any of Richard Russo's books before, but I was blown away by his ability to create entirely sympathetic characters that I soon found myself caring about deeply. The dialogue sparkles, and I can't imagine a better reader for this particular title than Ron McLarty (whom I'd also not encountered before).
I've listened to a lot of books from Audible over the last few years, but this (along with Ender's Game) is right up there with the best I've ever heard. I've already downloaded 2 more of Richard Russo's books, and I hope they'll provide more of the same.
When this recording ended I felt almost bereaved, and that's a feeling I don't often experience at the end of a book these days. Richard Russo is a master of transforming the imagined minutiae of small-town life into something that takes you by the heart and simply doesn't let go. If you enjoy taking a peep into how other people live then rush over to the downloads page and grab it right now.
"A wonderful, charming, book.."
I downloaded this one with trepidation, as the description was so far removed from what I would normally buy. But I decided - take a chance, it's really long, so excellent value! I am SO pleased I did. The story does not have a plot per se, but the characterisation and dialogue are just wonderful. I feel like I know the protagonist and his circle of acquaintances intimately, and they are all beautifully drawn. Thoroughly recommended.
Simply brilliant, I chose this book after getting the 'recommended reads' email. I was not dissappointed. So subtly written, nothing major really happens within the story line but that is the beauty of it. Its about the relationships of the characters and the daily living in a small town. I totally fell in love with Sully, mainly thanks to the excellent narrator. I love my monthly audible credits and this is why, Im even thinking of getting the movie out on DVD. (there's a movie!!). Download this now
"Beautifully observed story telling."
Fantastic book from the first page. The depth of character is the defining feature of Russo's art.
"A Great American Novel"
I am feeling slightly bereft because I have just finished listening to one of the best books I have ever come across. Read about the book on Amazon and Goodreads and you will find similar rave reviews. Richard Russo appears to be the best author most people have never heard of. Whilst raving about this book to my friends, many people have asked me what it is about. But if I told them it concerned a few days in the life of a 60 year old misery-guts with a bad leg and that there wasn't a great deal of action then I wouldn't be selling it very well. But this would be missing out that the book also is both highly entertaining and staggeringly good at portraying life, ageing, family dynamics, community, the clumsiness of men, friendship, lust and love.
The writing is so deftly simple but wise - it is a joy to read and every few lines you come across a wry observation or profound reflection. You get to know a large cast of small town characters and although they are all flawed and quirky, you get to like them all and care about what happens to them. It is deeply compassionate and brilliantly funny. I found myself exploding with uncontrollable belly-laughs on a number of occasions. I also felt quite tearful at times. It's a huge book - over 24 hours long in audio format. My only regret is that it wasn't twice as long. Now I don't know what to do with myself because I am afraid that the next few books I read will inevitably be disappointing. My only antidote to this may be to read another Russo book!!
Absolutely excellent reading. The dialogue is perfect. His ability to put multidimensional expression into a single utterance such as "ok" is a pleasure to witness.
If you don't know Richard Russo novels you have a treat ahead of you. This is my fourth and, yet again, despite its length, I didn't want it to finish. Sully, the 60-year old hero in this one, is not only a hopeless loser, as are most of Russo's characters, but - I won't spoil it by listing his character flaws but let's say he is not someone most of us would admire in real life. Yet Russo writes with such wit and humanity, I found myself desperately fond of old Sully and all the other no-hopers who do very little but get drunk, smoke, argue and insult each other. That is surely one of the highest achievements of a novel - to take us somewhere we wouldn't want to go and show us the good in it.
The book covers 3 generations with the majority of the attention given to the older end. It is refreshing to see the focus and sympathy given to the unattractive 80 year old Mrs Peoples, and to the younger grandparents whose sex lives Russo does not shrink from describing.
Warning if you don't like 4 letter words and crude references to parts of the anatomy, steer well clear of this.
One final comment: if you like banter and bar talk, I can't think of anyone who gets it so exactly right as Russo. (If you know of anyone else who can match it please let me know).
This is a superb narration of a beautifully crafted story. A lovely tale of flawed humanity in a declining town, packed with humour, kindness and irony. An absolute pleasure.
this book was described as storytelling at its most generous. while I enjoyed the book i found it quite difficult to listen to. the main character was quite engaging but some of the language was difficult and I found the setting hard to relate to. This is a book written by a man and the characterisation of the women felt stereotyped
"Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo"
This book seemed to drag on and on and unfortunately the voice of the reader kept sending me to sleep and didn't keep me interested.
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