Synopses & Reviews
Six years after the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize—winning Empire Falls,
Richard Russo returns with a novel that expands even further his widely heralded achievement.
Louis Charles (“Lucy”) Lynch has spent all his sixty years in upstate Thomaston, New York, married to the same woman, Sarah, for forty of them, their son now a grown man. Like his late, beloved father, Lucy is an optimist, though hes had plenty of reasons not to be-chief among them his mother, still indomitably alive. Yet it was her shrewdness, combined with that Lynch optimism, that had propelled them years ago to the right side of the tracks and created an “empire” of convenience stores about to be passed on to the next generation.
Lucy and Sarah are also preparing for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy, where his oldest friend, a renowned painter, has exiled himself far from anything theyd known in childhood. In fact, the exact nature of their friendship is one of the many mysteries Lucy hopes to untangle in the “history” hes writing of his hometown and family. And with his story interspersed with that of Noonan, the native son whod fled so long ago, the destinies building up around both of them (and Sarah, too) are relentless, constantly surprising, and utterly revealing.
"The challenge facing those who perform Russo's novels is the self-effacing, low-key nature of his protagonists. The line between a faithful rendition of the character and a snoozer may be as narrow as the street that divides the rich from the poor in Russo's upstate New York town of Thomaston. Unfortunately, Morey's performance finds itself the poor side of the tracks. Lou C. ('Lucy') Lynch's narration of events is read in an even, objective tone as if Morey were reading the evening news on an amateur radio show. He does emphasize words and ideas, but the overall effect is monotonous and doesn't do justice to Russo's rich material. Morey's narrative voice for Bobby, Lucy's childhood friend and nemesis, is deeper but more of the same. Morey gives a bit more energy to the third narrator, Sarah, Lou's wife. The result is more soporific than a Thanksgiving turkey, and getting through Russo's sharp account of the factory towns he knows so well becomes more a chore than a pleasure. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 13). (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Empire Falls" comes a new story that expands on all the details of small-town existence and the claims of family, especially the ties that bind fathers and sons. Unabridged. 20 CDs.
About the Author
Richard Russo lives with his wife in coastal Maine.