Top critical review
funny and endearing
Reviewed in the United States on August 13, 2016
I am a huge Russo fan and have read most of his other books. "The Risk Pool" is of nowhere near the same quality as "Empire Falls", "Nobody's Fool", "Everybody's Fool" or "The Bridge of Sighs." Having recently finished both "Fool" books, it was interesting to note the similarities between the characters SamHall/Don Sullivan and Eileen/Ruth and the towns of North Bath/Mohawk. It was almost as though "The Risk Pool" was a first draft of the later novels. All 3 books feature a dysfunctional, alcoholic, ne'er-do-well major character, but he is so much more likable in the later 2 iterations.So, if you have limited time or patience and want to read one book about a dysfunctional, alcoholic, ne'er-do-well in a dying upstate New York town, read "Nobody's Fool." It's fabulous, funny and endearing, while "The Risk Pool" is slow, depressing and boring.