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.
"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)
I bought this book after seeing it in a Staff Recommendations rack. It is the funniest non Comedy book I have ever read. I have bought copies for several friends and have read several Russo books since. He is terrific.
This was one of the most entertaining and engaging books I have come across in some time. The central character is an interesa fascinating,irritating, yet lovably hilarious excuse for a grown-up. He was a wonderful mixture of insightfulness and cluelessness. There are some terrific moments along the way that had me falling out of my chair with laughter-- then I'd climb back in to my chair to "re-read" the passage again and enjoy it once more. My wife was so intrigued by how I gleefully devoured this book that she had to read it herself. She loved it too! And so have each of my friends who I have convinced to read it.
This is the funniest book I have listened to since John Grisham's Skipping Christmas. It is a hilarious account of the trouble a middle aged college professor can find while his wife is away for several days. Russo's writing combines humor with the trials and tribulations of growing old or should I say growing up? A must listen!
Audible Member Since 2003
So I gave it only 4 stars. This isn't because Straight Man isn't wonderful. Perhaps when I compare it to the richness of Empire Falls and Nobody's Fool, it just doesn't quite fill those shoes. But don't let this stop you.
In some ways I enjoyed this book more than the other Russo books I have had the pleasure to listen to. This book was funnier. And I could not help but wonder how much of the protagonist, Hank Devereaux, was really Richard Russo himself as an irreverant wise-cracking head of a college English department.
Devereaux's own mother criticized her son telling him "you've become a clever man." To understand how this is considered a fault, you really have to listen to this book.
One hundred percent enjoyable!
Hilarious satire combined with warm sympathetic characters. The satire is funny but never cruel--difficult balance to maintain but Russo pulls it off. Delicious send-up of pompous college administrators and members of the college English department. Even when Russo is at his satiric best, almost all of the characters, though flawed, are presented as sympathetic complex human beings. I laughed alot--sometimes so hard that I had to stop listening. All in all, a wonderfully entertaining, intelligent and humane book--highly recommend.
If you don't read this book, I'll kill one duck a day (goose) until there are no more ducks (geese).:) Really funny. I loved it and will listen to it again.
There are just not enough novels with 49 year old men who are kind of clever but not terribly good at anything as heros. This is certainly the funniest one in the genre I have ever read. Like the other reviewers I laughed out loud many times.
Plenty happens - there is love, death, problems with the waterworks and literary criticsm. What more can you want?
Having read Empire Falls and Nobody's Fool before listening to this book
I would reccomend one of those two first. This book does create memorable characters but I came away with the impression of a kind of mid-life crisis book. I really enjoy this author. This is not a action oriented book but is worth listening because of his strength as a writer.
I have listened at least 10 times...simply hilarious!
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!
Sam Freed was the best choice of performers. His voice was perfect and he will always be "Hank" to me.
I loved Occam. He became a real dog to me, and every moment he was included in the story made me want another dog.
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.
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