?`s and ANNEswers

Ten minutes to write. Less time to read.

Richard Russo

The Olympic Games are over. One recent political cartoon expressed my sentiments about that: It said, “For two weeks we saw the best of the best. For the next two months we have the worst of the worst.” And this wasn’t referring to other sporting events either.

So I have buried my head in books. It’s easy to do when one of your favorite authors has a new one, and it’s a sequel to one of his you haven’t read yet. I’m taking about Richard Russo’s Everybody’s Fool, recently released as a follow up to Nobody’s Fool, published in 1993 and made into a movie starring Paul Neuman shortly thereafter. I haven’t seen the movie, but I know that Neuman was the perfect choice to play Donald Sullivan.

Russo’s books are dense and the real time story usually takes a week or so in the lives of his characters who inhabit a down-on-its-luck upstate New York town. Along the way you learn the back story of every significant character, every building in the town, and every historical event. If Russo’s town were Samuel Johnson, he would be its Boswell.

Each book is approximately five hundred pages, as are others in the Russo collection. Empire Falls, which won the Pulitzer, and Bridge of Sighs come to mind. Other of his works are shorter; but, honestly, they don’t compare in the nitty-gritty category. They’re good, but not the stuff that ignoring the presidential election is made of.

Richard Russo’s longer works definitely are. In fact, sometimes I had to work hard to remember who is running. Donald Sullivan deserves kudos for that.

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