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Empire Falls: A Novelby Richard Russo
2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
"Richard Russo first made his reputation with a series of blue-collar novels that suggested a more antic and expansive Raymond Carver. But by the time he published Straight Man, in 1997, Russo was clearly interested in breaking new ground, and that foray into academic farce showed off his comic timing and sneaky construction to superb effect. Now comes Empire Falls, the author's most ambitious work to date." James Marcus, Atlantic Online (Read the entire Atlantic Online review here)
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"In a warmhearted novel of sweeping scope....[Russo] shows an unerring sense of the rhythms of small-town life, balancing his irreverent, mocking humor with unending empathy for his characters and their foibles." Booklist
"Even the minor members of Russo's large cast are fully fleshed, and forays into the past lend the narrative an extra depth and resonance. When it comes to evoking the cherished hopes and dreams of ordinary people, Russo is unsurpassed." Publishers Weekly
"He stands alone as the Stendhal of blue-collar America....There are bound to be other, flashier novels published this year, but very few will find such a deep, permanent place in one's heart." Tom Bissell, Esquire
"Cause for celebration...easily his most seductive book thus far....Rich, humorous, elegantly constructed, rooted in the bedrock traditions of American fiction." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"The crowning achievement of [Russo's] remarkable career." Kirkus Reviews
"Empire Falls is dense in the best sense of the word....Each paragraph is packed with concise, precise phrases, and hardly a word is wasted in 483 pages....
"Russo writes with a warm, vibrant humanity....A stirring mix of poignancy, drama and comedy." The Washington Post
"The history of American literature may show that Richard Russo wrote the last great novel of the twentieth century....Empire Falls holds the fading culture of small-town life in a light both illuminating and searing. It captures the interplay of past and present, comedy and tragedy, nation and individual in the tradition of America's greatest books." Ron Charles, Christian Science Monitor
"Empire Falls is one of those rare novels you don't want to end, and it will surely send newcomers to Richard Russo's earlier books. A reader couldn't hope for much better than that." Detroit Free Press
With Empire Falls Richard Russo cements his reputation as one of Americas 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 its Janine, Miles soon-to-be ex-wife, whos taken up with a noxiously vain health-club proprietor. Or perhaps its 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.
In this droll, unsentimental, and occasionally hilarious bestselling novel, Russo tells the story of a big-hearted man who becomes the unlikely hero of a small town with a glorious past but a dubious future.
About the Author
Richard Russo lives in coastal Maine with his wife and their two daughters. He has written five novels: Mohawk, The Risk Pool, Nobody's Fool, Straight Man and Empire Falls, and a collection of short stories, The Whore's Child.
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