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Empire Falls by Richard Russo
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Empire Falls (original 2001; edition 2002)

by Richard Russo

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6,569None581 (3.95)264
Member:alynnk
Title:Empire Falls
Authors:Richard Russo
Info:Vintage (2002), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:@own: to be read

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Empire Falls by Richard Russo (2001)

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» See also 264 mentions

English (118)  Korean (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (122)
Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
Russo is so good you don't notice it while you're reading. I'll read the climax again and again to learn how to do what he did. ( )
  PetreaBurchard | Feb 9, 2014 |
I need to remember to read books like these with a pack of stickies, so I can mark all the great sentences as I read them. ( )
  MelissaZD | Jan 1, 2014 |
I need to remember to read books like these with a pack of stickies, so I can mark all the great sentences as I read them. ( )
  MelissaZD | Jan 1, 2014 |
I enjoyed the small town feel of this book and loved the characters. Make sure to also check out the HBO mini-series based on the book. ( )
  michellebarton | Dec 11, 2013 |
An amazing novel with all the elements--humor, drama, suspense and great characterization. ( )
  cmasson17 | Dec 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
Russo's command of his story is unerring, but his manner is so unassuming that his mastery is easy to miss. He satisfies every expectation without lapsing into predictability, and the last section of the book explodes with surprises that also seem, in retrospect, like inevitabilities. As the pace quickens and the disparate threads of the narrative draw tighter, you find yourself torn between the desire to rush ahead and the impulse to slow down.
added by Nickelini | editNew York Times, A.O. Scott (Jun 24, 2001)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard Russoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ven, Sandra van deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Compared to the Whiting mansion in town, the house Charles Beaumont Whiting built a decade after his return to Maine was modest.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375726403, Paperback)

Like most of Richard Russo's earlier novels, Empire Falls is a tale of blue-collar life, which itself increasingly resembles a kind of high-wire act performed without the benefit of any middle-class safety nets. This time, though, the author has widened his scope, producing a comic and compelling ensemble piece. There is, to be sure, a protagonist: fortysomething Miles Roby, proprietor of the local greasy spoon and the recently divorced father of a teenage daughter. But Russo sets in motion a large cast of secondary characters, drawn from every social stratum of his depressed New England mill town. We meet his ex-wife Janine, his father Max (another of Russo's cantankerous layabouts), and a host of Empire Grill regulars. We're also introduced to Francine Whiting, a manipulative widow who owns half the town--and who takes a perverse pleasure in pointing out Miles's psychological defects.

Miles does indeed have a tendency to take it on the chin. (At one point he alludes to his own "natural propensity for shit-eating.") And his role as Mr. Nice Guy thrusts him into all sorts of clashes with his not-so-nice contemporaries, even as the reader patiently waits for him to blow his top. It would be impossible to summarize Russo's multiple plot lines here. Suffice it to say that he touches on love and marriage, lust and loss and small-town economics, with more than a soupçon of class resentment stirred into the broth. This is, in a sense, an epic of small and large frustrations: "After all, what was the whole wide world but a place for people to yearn for their heart's impossible desires, for those desires to become entrenched in defiance of logic, plausibility, and even the passage of time, as eternal as polished marble." Yet Russo's comedic timing keeps the novel from collapsing into an orgy of breast-beating, and his dialogue alone--snappy and natural and efficiently poignant--is sufficient cause to put Empire Falls on the map. --Bob Brandeis

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:48 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

With Empire Falls Richard Russo cements his reputation as one of America's most compelling and compassionate storytellers. Miles Roby has been slinging burgers at the Empire Grill for 20 years, a job that cost him his college education and much of his self-respect. What keeps him there? It could be his bright, sensitive daughter Tick, who needs all his help surviving the local high school. Or maybe it's Janine, Miles' soon-to-be ex-wife, who's taken up with a noxiously vain health-club proprietor. Or perhaps it's the imperious Francine Whiting, who owns everything in town-and seems to believe that "everything" includes Miles himself. In Empire Falls Richard Russo delves deep into the blue-collar heart of America in a work that overflows with hilarity, heartache, and grace.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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