Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tuesday Intro: Nobody's Fool


WEDNESDAY
Upper Main Street in the village of North Bath, just above the town's two-block-long business district, was quietly residential for three more blocks, then became even more quietly rural along old Route 27A, a serpentine two-lane blacktop that snaked its way through the Adirondacks of northern New York, with their tiny down-at-the-heels resort towns, all the way to Montreal and prosperity. The houses that bordered Upper Main Street, as the locals referred to it - although Main, from its "lower" end by the IGA and Tastee Freeze through its upper end at the Sans Souci, was less than a quarter mile - were mostly dinosaurs, big, aging, clapboard Victorians and sprawling Greek Revivals that would have been worth some money if they were across the border in Vermont and if they had not been built as, or converted into two- and occasional three-family dwellings and rented out, over several decades, as slowly deteriorating flats.
Nobody's Fool
by Richard Russo

It's not the entire first paragraph, but those two sentences are enough to show Richard Russo hard at work setting a scene... and I already recognize the tiny upstate New York village. My book club will discuss Nobody's Fool  a week from Friday and, even though I'm still reading both Sweetbitter and Cranford, it's time to get started.

Empire Falls (a favorite in 2001) was my introduction to Russo and I've been reading him ever since. Somehow I never got around to this 1993 novel, but can't imagine not loving it. If time becomes an issue, there's always the movie. You can't go wrong with Paul Newman, right?

Here's the Goodreads summary:
Richard Russo's slyly funny and moving novel follows the unexpected operation of grace in a deadbeat town in upstate New York—and in the life of one of its unluckiest citizens, Sully, who has been doing the wrong thing triumphantly for fifty years. 
Divorced from his own wife and carrying on halfheartedly with another man's, saddled with a bum knee and friends who make enemies redundant, Sully now has one new problem to cope with: a long-estranged son who is in imminent danger of following in his father's footsteps. With its sly and uproarious humor and a heart that embraces humanity's follies as well as its triumphs, Nobody's Fool is storytelling at its most generous.
Would you keep reading?


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

44 comments:

  1. I like character studies, especially ones that take place in our modern world. This sounds like it might be a good one. I would keep reading.

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    1. Brian Joseph - I love character studies and Russo is a master at capturing small town life. This is one of his early novels, so it will be interesting to see how far he has come.

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  2. I really liked this one Joann. He knows how to set the the scene and develop his characters. (I had the edition pictured and the print was so tiny for my aged eyes - I bought it some 10 years earlier).

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    1. Diane - I just returned that edition to the library because the print was too small! Got the kindle version instead :)

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  3. I haven't read anything by Russo but the blurb and the buzz of this one have made me interested. I love the beginning and definitely want to read more! I'll have to add this one to my TBR.

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    1. Katherine - Russo is wonderful! I think Empire Falls would be the perfect place to start.

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  4. I recently added Russo to my list of writers I need to try....I love small town stories!

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    1. Sarah - It's been a long time since I read it, but Empire Falls may be the most perfect small town story every! Shotgun Lovesongs is a close second.

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  5. I haven't read him! But I do know the appeal of reading stories set at home, or near it.

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    1. Audrey - Russo has been a favorite for a long time. I've enjoyed so many of his books and even went with my book club to hear him speak. Will be reading his new sequel to this soon :)

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  6. You've introduced me to some other favorite authors over the years so, on that basis, I'm going to give Richard Russo a try. Plus, I really love the descriptive language in the first paragraph. Thanks JoAnn.

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    1. Margot - Empire Falls, which won a Pulitzer Prize, would be a great place to start. Bridge of Sighs is another favorite.

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  7. I have seen and loved the movie, and now I'm eager to pick up this book. I've only read one book by the author, That Old Cape Magic, which I had grabbed from a bargain table in a now defunct bookstore. I read it in 2013. (Just checked on Goodreads!).

    Thanks for sharing! Here's mine: “DEATH AT BREAKFAST”

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - That Old Cape Magic was very good, but I didn't love it as much as Empire Falls or Bridge of Sighs. I'll definitely be watching Nobody's Fool when I'm done with the book.

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  8. I'd like to read both this book and its sequel.

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    1. Catherine - I've already got the sequel on my wish list!

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  9. I adored Empire Falls, but haven't yet read anything else by Russo. I would like to. My father-in-law is currently reading all of his books and asked me to keep a look out for any new ones. :-)

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    1. Wendy - I still remember how much I loved Empire Falls! Bridge of Sighs was a close second.

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  10. great description! I have not yet read this author

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    1. Emma - I've loved all of his books :)

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  11. I really want to read a Russo book sometime, and you're right about his setting the scene immediately. I say keep reading.

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    1. Kathy - Russo is such a great story-teller. Empire Falls and Bridge of Sighs are my favorites.

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  12. I read this years ago and remember loving it so it's a yes from me...enjoy!

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    1. Emma - That's very encouraging... though I can't imagine not liking anything Russo writes :)

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  13. Oh my goodness, I love the movie with Paul Newman. I've seen it twice, once only a few years ago. It's such a feel-good, though quirky, film. But I loved Paul Newman in anything he did, from films to charity. Never read this book, but I see there's finally a follow-up to it. Being I'm familiar with the movie I could probably jump right into the second book with ease.

    I have relatives in upstate NY and we also lived in the Hudson Valley region just a few years ago, so I've driven through small towns such as Bath. Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Rita - I started reading yesterday and love it already. Sully is such a great character and I can totally see Paul Newman in that role! Adding the sequel to my reading list already. Hope all is week with you :)

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  14. I've seen and loved the movie. I will watch anything with Paul!!

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    1. Nise'- I will, too, and will be watching the movie just as soon as I finish the book!

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  15. I've never read Russo, but it sounds like I like him!

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    1. Charlie - Russo is such a great storyteller!

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  16. We usually go to Maine at least once a year and you could find him eating breakfast at the Camden Diner!

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    1. Patty - We love Maine, but haven't been in a few years. Camden is such a beautiful town... love that Russo frequents the local diner!

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  17. Joann, Yes, these books were written in a different way, weren't they? They were slower to unwind and set the scene as opposed to many of the plot-driven books today. Hope you enjoy it.

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    1. Paulita - There really is an old-fashioned feeling about this book... and I'm loving it already!

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  18. I also loved Empire Falls (and That Old Cape Magic), so when I saw Everybody's Fool on my library's "on order" list a few months ago I immediately put a hold on it. Even though they say you don't need to read NF to appreciate EV (this is true, however I think the characters have greater depth is you do) I decided to read Nobody's Fool first and I'm so glad I did! I loved it and gave it a rare-for-me 5/5 on goodreads. I can't wait to hear your thoughts and see if you feel the same way.

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    1. Joyce - I'm less than 100 pages into Nobody's Fool and absolutely love it! It's already shaping up to be a 5-star read for me, too. The characters are all so real and I'm enjoying Sully immensely. Have you seen the movie? I can totally picture Paul Newman in that role now and can't wait to watch it after I finish reading. Thanks for commenting :)

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  19. Oh, yes - keep reading. The only Russo I've read is his novella Nate in Venice but I have several other of his titles on my TBR list. I love this intro - I know I would love the book!

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    1. Debbie - Thanks for reminding me that I have Nate in Venice on my kindle! I'd totally forgotten about it. Russo has been a favorite for a long time :)

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  20. I haven't read a Richard Russo so I need to fix that first. I love that you have been reading this author for a long time!

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    1. Athira - I'm 20% done now and loving this book! Russo is still a favorite. Empire Falls would be a great place to start.

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  21. No you can't go wrong with Paul Newman. And the movie of it is terrific! Go Sully!

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    1. Susan - Just borrowed the movie from the library. I need to read faster... tick, tick, tick.

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  22. I read Empire Falls many years ago (was it an Oprah pick?) and thought it was very good. I went on to read Straight Man, which is very funny, and I think I read this one, but I can't find any record of it. I'm pretty sure I did because then I rented the movie and for some reason didn't watch it all. Maybe it was too close to what I had just read? I tried Bridge of Sighs but couldn't get interested. I have That Old Cape Magic in my stacks and will get to it later this year. But back to Straight Man. Give it a try. I remember how it made me laugh out loud.

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    1. Les - I don't remember if Empire Falls was an Oprah pick, but it seems like that's how I was choosing most of my books back then. Straight Man was a very funny book...think I read it shortly after Empire Falls. Bridge of Sighs was also a favorite the year I read it, and I remember reading That Old Cape Magic on a lazy summer afternoon by the lake. Not sure why it's taken me this long to finally get around to Nobody's Fool!

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