We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
Straight Man Audiobook

Straight Man

Regular Price:$33.60
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

In this uproarious novel, Richard Russo performs his characteristic high-wire walk between hilarity and heartbreak. Russo's protagonist is William Henry Devereaux, Jr., the reluctant chairman of the English department of a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt. Devereaux's reluctance is partly rooted in his character - he is a born anarchist - and partly in the fact that his department is more savagely divided than the Balkans.

In the course of a single week, Devereaux will have his nose mangled by an angry colleague, imagine his wife is having an affair with his dean, wonder if a curvaceous adjunct is trying to seduce him with peach pits, and threaten to execute a goose on local television. All this while coming to terms with his philandering father, the dereliction of his youthful promise, and the ominous failure of certain vital body functions. In short, Straight Man is classic Russo - side-splitting and true-to-life, witty, compassionate, and impossible to put down.

© 1997 Richard Russo; (P) 2003 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"There is a big, wry heart beating at the center of Russo's fiction." (The New Yorker)
"[Russo] skewers academic pretensions and infighting with mad abandon...in a clear and muscular prose that is a pleasure to read...I had to stop often to guffaw, gasp, wheeze and wipe away my tears." (Chicago Sun-Times)
"Russo can penetrate to the tender quick of ordinary, American lives." (Entertainment Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (653 )
5 star
 (309)
4 star
 (188)
3 star
 (104)
2 star
 (31)
1 star
 (21)
Overall
4.1 (357 )
5 star
 (170)
4 star
 (96)
3 star
 (53)
2 star
 (25)
1 star
 (13)
Story
4.3 (354 )
5 star
 (183)
4 star
 (116)
3 star
 (40)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (8)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Jonelle Camp Hill, PA, United States 08-24-16
    Jonelle Camp Hill, PA, United States 08-24-16 Member Since 2008

    A librarian who loves to read, whether in print or in the air

    HELPFUL VOTES
    143
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    100
    73
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Funny to the End- Especially for Academics"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this older novel from Russo. It kept me laughing right to the very end as its college department chair hero resolves his mid-life career crisis.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Schweizer 05-21-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sly, sophisticated novel"

    This has become my new favorite novel. I love the memorable characters, the well-developed and amusing plot, the surprising and satisfying humor. This is the third Richard Russo novel I've listened to this week and the best of them, I think.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-10-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Straight Man by Richard Russo"

    Straight Man by Richard Russo is one of the best audio books I have listened to on the Audible App. The book itself describes many of the foibles which go on in academe. The book was especially of interest to me, since it describes some of the machinations which went on in the English department at the Unniversity where I taught during that time period---the same school where Russo was also employed at the time. Excellent book and highly perceptive and lots of fun.

    The narrator was perfect for the book, and the narration could not have been better!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emmamom Broad Brook CT 04-07-16
    Emmamom Broad Brook CT 04-07-16

    Cheryltopher

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I listened to the great reviews to my great regret"
    Any additional comments?

    Looking for a smart, funny, witty book I chose this based on the great reviews. I loved Confederacy of Dunces and thought Straight Man might make me laugh too. Boy was I wrong. I trudged 3/4 through and gave up. I couldn't bring myself to care about or like a single character, and the chauvanistic tropes felt tired and dated, and more often than not, creepy. Middle aged professors flirting with and sometimes sleeping with students. The professor who came out of the closet, attended sexual orientation counseling at the behest of his wife, and returns to the closet - his flamboyant white suit and fake PHD the basis of what makes this offensive take on homosexuality "funny." The socially outcast writing student, angry with all the pretty women who consistently reject and emasculate him writes long and prurient stories featuring graphic and endless rape scenes and even necrophilia. What a hoot! The goose on the cover and reviews talking about the main characters's threat to "kill a duck a day" unless his department gets funded made me think of funny scenes with Sonia the elephant in The 100 Yr Old Man Who Climbed Through the Window. Here, however, Hank chokes the goose, holding it aloft by the neck and makes his speech while the goose "with bulging eyes" flaps his wings and squawks frantically. I guess the fact that Hank is wearing Groucho Marx glasses and fake nose is what makes this scene funny, but this was about the time I found myself wishing I could get my time refunded, if not my money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Chicago, IL, United States 02-10-16
    Lauren Chicago, IL, United States 02-10-16 Member Since 2011

    I guess I'm a baby...I just love to be read to.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    208
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    327
    70
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    31
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Started Strong...."

    And ended weakly. The last quarter of the book was pretty boring. The amount of similar characters with similar names got kind of confusing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Hoag State College, PA 10-27-15
    Anne Hoag State College, PA 10-27-15

    Anne in Happy Valley

    HELPFUL VOTES
    73
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    260
    29
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of my all time favorite books."
    Would you listen to Straight Man again? Why?

    I do listen to this book every few years. I don't identify with the main character at all -- but I love him. I'm in love with him!


    What did you like best about this story?

    Occam's razor and how it's put to use


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah M. Jordan 03-17-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "excellent character driven book."

    really liked the character and the story. a self-depricating look at academics. very funny and poignant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stankevitch 12-25-14
    Stankevitch 12-25-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "witty but not funny"
    Any additional comments?

    OMG, I've been struggling with this book for what seems like forever. I've been recommended to read it because I like David Lodge's novels about academics, and it is in no way like David Lodge. It's boring, the plot is weak, and the best chapter so far is the very beginning about the dog. Uff.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra 07-20-14
    Debra 07-20-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Was I listening to the right book?"

    I ordered this audiobook after reading all of the glowing reviews about how hilarious it is. I listened for about two hours, waiting to laugh. Then all of a sudden it hit me... I've been listening to this for two hours, waiting for it to get funny. This could only mean... It's not going to GET funny... It ISN'T funny. What did I miss?

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Austin, TX, USA 11-16-13
    Mary Austin, TX, USA 11-16-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of my favorite books, and great narration"

    OK, this is Mary's husband.

    This is the second time I've listened to this book in the last 3.5 years, and it's fabulous -- I laugh uncontrollably. It probably helps if you're an ex-University rat, but the narrator is wonderful -- dry, ironic, with perfect timing. I love Richard Russo's work but I wish they had used Sam Freed for his other books.

    Right up there with Lucky Jim as one of my favorite books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.