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 | [Richard Russo]

Straight Man

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. 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.
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 -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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 (515 )
5 star
 (233)
4 star
 (153)
3 star
 (85)
2 star
 (26)
1 star
 (18)
Overall
4.0 (222 )
5 star
 (99)
4 star
 (65)
3 star
 (30)
2 star
 (20)
1 star
 (8)
Story
4.2 (221 )
5 star
 (101)
4 star
 (79)
3 star
 (29)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (7)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Austin, TX, USA 11-16-13
    Mary Austin, TX, USA 11-16-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    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
  •  
    Charles Cyr Underhill, VT, United States 09-02-13
    Charles Cyr Underhill, VT, United States 09-02-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Among The Best I've Ever Heard!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely! I already have!


    What did you like best about this story?

    Russo's ability to depict the humorous aspects of the ordinary lives of these small town academicians.


    What does Sam Freed bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A matter-of-fact reading that underscores and enhances the wry, witty, prose of Russo.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eve 08-29-13
    Eve 08-29-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Funny guy"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Straight Man to be better than the print version?

    No. Each has its merits. I had actually read Straight Man in print when it was first published. And I enjoyed it again in audio. I suspect that I catch more bits when it is read to me, as I tend to skim a bit when reading myself. Russo is good with language and can set up some funny situations, so being forced to hear all of the words does not hurt.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I'm in academia. Much of this hit a nerve - or a funny bone.


    What about Sam Freed’s performance did you like?

    To me, if the narrator is good, I don't notice I'm being read to. I just hear the story. So I'd say he did a good job.


    Who was the most memorable character of Straight Man and why?

    hmm? other than Devereaux? How 'bout the duck?


    Any additional comments?

    I'm generally a Russo fan. This is probably my favorite.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bsn raleigh, nc 05-21-13
    bsn raleigh, nc 05-21-13 Member Since 2007

    bsn

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Laughing Out Loud!"
    Would you listen to Straight Man again? Why?

    I have listened at least 10 times...simply hilarious!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Straight Man?

    Russell finding Hank in the parking lot in his pee-stained chinos trying to escape to home...the interchange between them had me laughing out loud, very loudly!


    What about Sam Freed’s performance did you like?

    Sam Freed was the best choice of performers. His voice was perfect and he will always be "Hank" to me.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I loved Occam. He became a real dog to me, and every moment he was included in the story made me want another dog.


    Any additional comments?

    Richard Russo is among my favorite authors and Straight Man is my favorite of all his books. I listen at least once each year and often more than that. Every time I listen to it I catch something I had either missed before or forgotten.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terri Giddings, TX, United States 05-07-13
    Terri Giddings, TX, United States 05-07-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Superb!"

    Love all of Russo's books but this one ranks in my top faves. Would only be better if Russo himself narrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Lakeville, MA, United States 03-27-13
    Susan Lakeville, MA, United States 03-27-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I suffered from withdrawal when the book ended"
    Would you listen to Straight Man again? Why?

    I will definitely listen to this book again. The narrator is outstanding. He performs rather than reads the books and his performance enhances the story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hank was my favorite because of his wit and his laid-back outlook on life. I always fall in love with the lead character in all of Richard Russo's books.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I was laughing out loud in my car in when Hank was crouched in the ceiling of the conference room covered in dirt and wet pants eavesdropping on his peers discussing whether or not to allow his to retain his chair of the English department. Hilarious!@!!!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Noooooo. I wanted it to go on forever. I didn't want it to end.


    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth 12-19-12
    Beth 12-19-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fun and light reading"

    Straight Man is a good book when you are in the mood for something light and fun. I would highly recommend listening to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenn Demopolis, AL, USA 07-14-12
    Glenn Demopolis, AL, USA 07-14-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    196
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Just finished my 5th (6th?) listen of this book"
    Would you listen to Straight Man again? Why?

    See headline ^^^^^^^.The deadpan, dead-on narration. The wonderful character development. The turn of phrase (and there are many) that still makes me laugh out loud spontaneously.


    Who was the most memorable character of Straight Man and why?

    Occam. The dog, not the man. I'm not a groiner by nature, but I can play that role...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 39 results PREVIOUS1234NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

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.