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Nobody's Fool (Russo) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Small towns, like seagoing vessels, have always suited fiction: manageable little pressure cookers with a fixed cast of characters, whose lack of privacy and enforced proximity may cause the plot to boil over.... One wants to congratulate Mr. Russo for what he avoids. Nobody's Fool never slides into the corn-pone hokiness so often found in novels of small-town life, fiction in which the rural setting is either a Walker Evans photo or Dogpatch. In these books, the characters talk as if they were auditioning for the Henry Fonda part in The Grapes of Wrath. But dialogue is what Mr. Russo does best, and the fun of this novel is in hearing these guys (and women) talk, giving one another a hard time— they're funny, quick and inventive.
Francine Prose - New York Time


Sully is reminiscent, in a way, of Bellow's old men.... One never tires of watching him, because he has the capacity to make everyone around him feel better, including the reader.
The New Yorker


Sixty-year-old Sully is "nobody's fool," except maybe his own. Out of work (undeclared-income work is what he does, when he can), down to his last few bucks, hampered by an arthritic broken knee, Sully is worried that he's started on a run of bad luck. And he has. The banker son of his octogenarian landlady wants him evicted; Sully's estranged son comes home for Thanksgiving only to have his wife split; Sully's own high-strung ex-wife seems headed for a nervous breakdown; and his longtime lover is blaming him for her daughter's winding up in the hospital with a busted jaw. But Sully's biggest problem is the memory of his own abusive father, a ghost who haunts his every day. As he demonstrated in Mohawk (Random, 1986) and The Risk Pool (Random, 1989), Russo knows the small towns of upstate New York and the people who inhabit them; he writes with humor and compassion. A delight. —Charles Michaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, MA
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