Russo, Richard Empire Falls

ISBN 13: 9780099422273

Empire Falls

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9780099422273: Empire Falls

Empire Falls, Maine: once a thriving hub of industry, this small town nestles in a bend of the vast and winding Knox River, and has always been the empire of the wealthy Whiting family. Now the last Mrs Whiting presides like a black widow spider over its declining fortunes. She harbours a grudge against her employee Miles Groby, who runs the Whiting-owned Empire Grill, but hopes one day to own it himself. Miles, gentle and hopeless, has other problems: his wife has run off with his worst customer, he frets about his adored teenage daughter, and his drunken father sponges off everyone.

As the novel builds to a shocking climax, Russo constantly surprises with characters who will disarm you, a plot with as many twists and falls as the Knox River itself, and an ending that will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

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Review:

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' 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 summarise Russo's multiple plot lines here. Suffice 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, Amazon.com

Review:

" I loved Richard Russo's Pulitzer-winning Empire Falls, a moving, brilliantly imagined and intensely satisfying novel about the slow death of a small town: Russo's characters are as loveable and as exasperating as family" (Nick Hornby)

"His natural grace as a storyteller is matched by his compassion for his characters" (John Irving)

"Like Anne Tyler, Russo is interested in how people rub along; in kindness and responsibility; in cutting slack without being asked. In the Empire Grill he has created a place so involving that not only can you see and smell it, but you start to feel a bit left out of the gin rummy. Russo makes an enormous job of story-telling look effortless. He is, in all the best senses of the word, a natural" ( Sunday Times)

"Richard Russo can write like Edith Wharton leavened with a touch of David Lodge" ( Economist)

"Russo's command of his story is unerring... He satisfies every expectation without lapsing into predictability, and the last section of the book explodes with surprises...One of the best novelists around" ( New York Times)

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Russo, Richard
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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 194 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Empire Falls, Maine: once a thriving hub of industry, this small town nestles in a bend of the vast and winding Knox River, and has always been the empire of the wealthy Whiting family. Now the last Mrs Whiting presides like a black widow spider over its declining fortunes. She harbours a grudge against her employee Miles Groby, who runs the Whiting-owned Empire Grill, but hopes one day to own it himself. Miles, gentle and hopeless, has other problems: his wife has run off with his worst customer, he frets about his adored teenage daughter, and his drunken father sponges off everyone. As the novel builds to a shocking climax, Russo constantly surprises with characters who will disarm you, a plot with as many twists and falls as the Knox River itself, and an ending that will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099422273

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Book Description Vintage Publishing. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Empire Falls, Richard Russo, Empire Falls, Maine: once a thriving hub of industry, this small town nestles in a bend of the vast and winding Knox River, and has always been the empire of the wealthy Whiting family. Now the last Mrs Whiting presides like a black widow spider over its declining fortunes. She harbours a grudge against her employee Miles Groby, who runs the Whiting-owned Empire Grill, but hopes one day to own it himself. Miles, gentle and hopeless, has other problems: his wife has run off with his worst customer, he frets about his adored teenage daughter, and his drunken father sponges off everyone. As the novel builds to a shocking climax, Russo constantly surprises with characters who will disarm you, a plot with as many twists and falls as the Knox River itself, and an ending that will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. Bookseller Inventory # B9780099422273

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 194 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Empire Falls, Maine: once a thriving hub of industry, this small town nestles in a bend of the vast and winding Knox River, and has always been the empire of the wealthy Whiting family. Now the last Mrs Whiting presides like a black widow spider over its declining fortunes. She harbours a grudge against her employee Miles Groby, who runs the Whiting-owned Empire Grill, but hopes one day to own it himself. Miles, gentle and hopeless, has other problems: his wife has run off with his worst customer, he frets about his adored teenage daughter, and his drunken father sponges off everyone. As the novel builds to a shocking climax, Russo constantly surprises with characters who will disarm you, a plot with as many twists and falls as the Knox River itself, and an ending that will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099422273

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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Not Signed; Empire Falls, Maine: once a thriving hub of industry, this small town nestles in a bend of the vast and winding Knox River, and has always been the empire of the wealthy Whiting family. Now the last Mrs Whiting presides like a black widow spider over its declining fortunes. She harbours a grudge aga. book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780099422273_rkm

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Book Description Vintage Books, 2006. Book Condition: New. 2006. Paperback. Empire Falls, Maine: once a thriving hub of industry, this small town nestles in a bend of the vast and winding Knox River, and has always been the empire of the wealthy Whiting family. Now the last Mrs Whiting presides like a black widow spider over its declining fortunes. Num Pages: 496 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 129 x 31. Weight in Grams: 352. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099422273

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