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Nobody's Fool | [Richard Russo]

Nobody's Fool

Divorced from his own wife and carrying on halfheartedly with another man's, saddled with a bum knee and friends who make enemies redundant, Sully now has one new problem to cope with: a long-estranged son who is in imminent danger of following in his father's footsteps. With its sly and uproarious humor and a heart that embraces humanity's follies as well as its triumphs, Nobody's Fool is storytelling at its most generous.
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Publisher's Summary

In this slyly funny and moving novel, Richard Russo follows the unexpected operation of grace in a deadbeat, upstate New York town, and in the lives of the unluckiest of its citizens. Divorced from his own wife and carrying on halfheartedly with another man's, saddled with a bum knee and friends who make enemies redundant, sixty-year-old Sully now has one new problem to cope with: a long-estranged son who is in imminent danger of following in his father's footsteps. With its sly and uproarious humor and a heart that embraces humanity's follies as well as its triumphs, Nobody's Fool is storytelling at its most generous. Don't miss this great novel of impressive literary finesse shot through with wit and compassion.

© 1993 Richard Russo; (P) 2003 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"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 Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (581 )
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4.4 (204 )
5 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Steve Anchorage, AK, USA 09-29-03
    Steve Anchorage, AK, USA 09-29-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    163
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    "Russo is a genious."

    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.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kate Chicago, IL, USA 10-08-03
    Kate Chicago, IL, USA 10-08-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "Russo is a master at blending humor and pathos"

    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.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirk Pawleys Island, SC, USA 05-13-05
    Kirk Pawleys Island, SC, USA 05-13-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A truly great book!"

    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.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marsha New York, NY, USA 04-27-05
    Marsha New York, NY, USA 04-27-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    3
    3
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    "Wonderful Book Fabulous Narrator"

    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.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen Tinley Park, IL, United States 12-09-04
    Eileen Tinley Park, IL, United States 12-09-04 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    288
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    "Russo is a master storyteller"

    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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tanya Southeastern PA, US 10-11-03
    Tanya Southeastern PA, US 10-11-03 Member Since 2001

    Tanya

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    "An amazing tale"

    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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary aptos, CA, USA 08-02-08
    Mary aptos, CA, USA 08-02-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nobody's Fool"

    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".

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris D 11-16-03
    Chris D 11-16-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Surprised by other bad reviews..."

    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.:)

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 06-03-12
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 06-03-12 Member Since 2005

    I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sully Won Me Over!"

    This book with it's flawed main character has it's ups and downs but overall it is a story of the dysfunction and redemption in all of us human beings. Our ability to love and hate is played out in this book beautifully.. But this book is so much more. It reminded me a bit of Stephen Kings folksy tone and even though at times for me it got bogged down, I finished this book feeling sad it ended. And I must give the narrator kudos, what an amazing job, Ron McLarty!!!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renae Clark 11-04-07
    Renae Clark 11-04-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good read/listen"

    This is the second of the author's books that I have listened to and enjoyed. His characters are always interesting and the dialogue witty and flows quite naturally. The only fault I had was the less than satisfying ending.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 70 results PREVIOUS127NEXT
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  • Shirley
    SouthportUnited Kingdom
    11/15/08
    Overall
    "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.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Sharon
    HOVE, EAST SUSSEX, United Kingdom
    9/12/09
    Overall
    "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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Zoey
    London, United Kingdom
    12/6/11
    Overall
    "Brilliant"

    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

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Steve
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    5/31/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Without flaw"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Carol
    Ely, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "downtown USA"

    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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Janice
    Boston, United Kingdom
    3/2/12
    Overall
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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