© 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)
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.:)
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
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!!!
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.
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".
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