Monday, June 6, 2016

Nobody's Fool; Richard Russo

Nobody's Fool; Richard Russo
Vintage 1994

I've probably owned this book for 10 years and it's remained on my shelf unread until I learned Russo released a sequel and THEN I had to read it.  Why did I wait so long?  It's wonderful.

Nobody's Fool is Donald "Sully" Sullivan is a 60 year old unemployed construction worker.  Sully is one of those guys who seems to be their own worst enemy, yet you feel for him as the story progresses. He's got a bad knee, an ex-wife and an adult son he's never really gotten to know. The couple separated when his son was very young.

Set in rural North Bath, New York, this novel is full of small town charm and large as life characters who you really get to know.  The dialogue made me laugh and the conversations seemed just as I'd imagine everyday people to be having.  The people meet at the diner and secrets are hard to keep in a small town like this.

Sully's son, Pete is going through a difficult time as well. His marriage is on the rocks and he has been denied tenure at the college where he teaches. He has two sometimes difficult young boys and, of course, the strained relationship with Sully.

There were touching moments in the story when Sully seems to bond with his grandson who has some insecurity issues much like his dad did as a young boy.  The interactions between Sully, the young boy and key characters made me smile. Sully is just so genuine -- warts and all.

The story is filled with small town charm and characters who will feel like some people you've met along the way. Like Russo's Pulitzer Prize winning Empire Falls, Nobody's Fool was a rewarding read. Russo is one author who can capture blue-collar people. Read this if you want a great story complete with quirky and memorable characters. I can't wait to read the sequel, Everybody's Fool.

4.5/5 stars
(personal copy)

25 comments:

  1. I've loved so many of Russo's books and am not sure how this one escaped me. It's our next book club selection, so I'll be reading it soon. Glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. Hope you enjoy it as well. I have 3 other Russo books on my shelf as well - can't wait.

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  2. I have a feeling I'd love this one too.

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  3. I love books set in small towns. It sounds good.

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  4. I e picked up several of his books and have not gotten around to reading any of them yet! I know I will love them. Didn't they make a movie of Empire Falls?

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    1. Empire Fall and this one were both movies. Paul Newman is Sully in this one.

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  5. I've been seeing Russo around lately and have never read him...and am now getting really interested in reading him, as I love books about small town life. Adding Nobody's Fool to my backlist TBR!

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    1. Oh he is a great writer. I hope you try him sometime.

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  6. Russo is a master for depicting small town charm. I saw the new book and then quickly realized it was a follow-up to this one. I must read this one first but I am glad you reviewed it. I know there was a movie too but never saw the film.

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  7. I've heard of Russo but never read any of his books. I do love the sound of this especially since you enjoyed it so much. It's always funny how long books sit on our shelves and when we read them we wonder why we didn't get to them sooner!

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    1. Oh I hope you try him, I doubt you'd be disappointed.

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  8. We've not read anything of his but is sounds good!

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  9. I've been curious about this one because I'm seeing it promoted a lot. I haven't read him before, but this one looks pretty good.

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  10. I read this years ago and loved it. The film version is good because well, Paul Newman.

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  11. I like the small town life as it makes me try to understand America from another perspective.

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  12. Someone at one of my reading groups was talking about Russo's new book. I have liked anything I read by him. His characters always seem so real to me.

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    1. He is amazing at creating memorable characters and sense of place.

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  13. I read Empire Falls years ago and really liked it. I missed this one somehow, but picked up the sequel at BEA, so I'm going to try and read this one before I start the sequel.

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