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Empire Falls: A Novel


Empire Falls: A Novel Cover



Reading Group Guide



Time magazine Best Novel of the Year

“Rich, humorous, elegantly constructed. . . . Easily Mr. Russos most seductive book thus far.” —The New York Times

The introduction, discussion questions, suggested reading list, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your reading groups discussion of Richard Russos Empire Falls, a wonderfully evocative portrait of a small town in Maine.

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Average customer rating based on 9 comments:

librariphile, October 21, 2012 (view all comments by librariphile)
Everything I like about novels is in this novel. The HBO films adaptation more than disappointed me. In part this is because the book was so perfect I can't understand trying to recreate its characters and setting, but also because its casting was confusing.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Natalie Aldern, January 18, 2010 (view all comments by Natalie Aldern)
Russo's characters are complex, tragic, inspiring and thoroughly human. He does a beautiful jobs of intertwining lives and exploring what it means to be a father, mother, daughter or son in America. Truly one of the best books I have read in a long time.
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Charles Stulick, January 17, 2010 (view all comments by Charles Stulick)
Definately the best book I have read in the last ten years and maybe the best ever. The story of a small Maine town and the lives of its inhabitants has a little of something for everyone. There is drama, humor, love, and even some suspense. The book may be even more relevant today in the current economic times as the industry around the area is failing, one plant and business at a time. Once you have read this marvelous story, you will not soon forget the residents of Empire Falls.
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Product Details

Russo, Richard
New York, NY
Fathers and daughters
Psychological fiction
Working class
Domestic fiction
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
fiction;maine;novel;pulitzer prize;small town;family;pulitzer;new england;american;contemporary fiction;literature;divorce;contemporary;relationships;small town life;working class;fathers and daughters;21st century;restaurants;literary fiction;usa;pulitze
fiction;maine;novel;pulitzer prize;small town;family;pulitzer;new england;american;contemporary fiction;literature;divorce;contemporary;relationships;small town life;working class;fathers and daughters;21st century;restaurants;literary fiction;pulitzer pr
Edition Number:
1st paperback ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Vintage Contemporaries
Publication Date:
May 14, 2002
Grade Level:
8 x 5.14 x 1.01 in 0.8 lb

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Empire Falls: A Novel Used Trade Paper
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Product details 496 pages Vintage Contemporaries - English 9780375726408 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "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." (Read the entire Atlantic Online review here)
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Cause for celebration...easily his most seductive book thus far....Rich, humorous, elegantly constructed, rooted in the bedrock traditions of American fiction."
"Review" by , "The crowning achievement of [Russo's] remarkable career."
"Review" by , "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....[W]ith this deeply ambitious book, Richard Russo has found new life as a writer. (Grade: B+)"
"Review" by , "Russo writes with a warm, vibrant humanity....A stirring mix of poignancy, drama and comedy."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , 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.

"Synopsis" by , 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.
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