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Publisher's Summary

"It turns out that Russo the nonfiction writer is a lot like Russo the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. He is affably disagreeable, wry, idiosyncratic, vulnerably bighearted, a craftsman of lubricated sentences." (Jay Fielden, New York Times Book Review)

A master of the novel, short story, and memoir, the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Everybody's Fool now gives us his very first collection of personal essays, ranging throughout writing and reading and living.

In these nine essays, Richard Russo provides insight into his life as a writer, teacher, friend, and reader. From a commencement speech he gave at Colby College, to the story of how an oddly placed toilet made him reevaluate the purpose of humor in art and life, to a comprehensive analysis of Mark Twain's value, to his harrowing journey accompanying a dear friend as she pursued gender-reassignment surgery, The Destiny Thief reflects the broad interests and experiences of one of America's most beloved authors. Warm, funny, wise, and poignant, the essays included here traverse Russo's writing life, expanding our understanding of who he is and how his singular, incredibly generous mind works. An utter joy to listen to, they give deep insight into the creative process from the prospective of one of our greatest writers.

©2018 Richard Russo (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Russo's timing, wit, and delivery animate this memoir.... Fans and emerging writers will find much to appreciate in his perspectives." (AudioFile)

"Readers who come to this book in search of the storyteller they know from Russo's fiction will be well-rewarded.... [He] proves to be a familiar presence - thoughtful, funny, endearing - and surprising, as well.... Russo delivers the cozy intelligence and comic savvy that readers have come to admire." (Joan Silverman, Portland Press Herald)

"Captivating...generous-hearted essays on writing and life [that] fully display Russo's trademark warmth and wit, and are marked by a fair dose of unpretentious wisdom and a genuineness that sometimes borders on self-effacement.... The Destiny Thief puzzles with the mysteries of what good writing is and what good living is." (Robert Weibezahl, BookPage)

What members say

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The Destiny Thief

I couldn't get enough. At the end I broke down and sobbed, too. Not in Bulgaria but in Portland, Maine. When you read the words of Springsteen my mind floated on a visual of our country today. Our beautiful country enduring the eroding of a vile president. Once when visiting in Austin, Tex. I went to a Congregational Church and heard the song Finlandia. I am reminded of that right now as I finished reading this book. Achingly sad. Our country being split by ego and evil. Okay. I get it. Anyone reading my review right now might ask what this has to do with the book. Russo, you write constructively and helpfully and with personal passion. I burst out laughing at parts. I contemplated deeply at others. Most of all, the book inspired. I'll leave it at that.

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Russo's realm

A very compelling collection of memoirs about a variety of topics - most important of which are the "simple" truths about being human. Wonderful auto-biographical bits added to my comfort with his words, stories, humor, and straight-forward observations, humility and humanity. As with his novels, I finished feeling that I wanted more.