Top positive review
Subtle, Wicked Humor…Along With Profound Reflections About Life
Reviewed in the United States on January 1, 2019
I am an avid Richard Russo fan. As in: He writes it. I read it. Period. So, of course, I am giving the book five stars. And while I highly recommend it, if you have never read Russo, I don't think you should start with this one. You should definitely read "Empire Falls" first. And maybe "Bridge of Sighs" second. Then you can read this one.
Written in the first person, this is the story of William Henry Devereaux Jr., a professor of English and interim department chair at a small, no-name college in a small, no-name town in the middle of Pennsylvania. Hank, like most of his colleagues, started their careers at the college and somehow never left. Now approaching 50, Hank has one busy week in April that is a study in comedy and tragedy, both personally and professionally.
While the plot can drag in some places and veer weirdly left in others, this is not a book that relies on plot. This is a character-driven book, and Russo has created some colorful, vivid personalities that together propel the story forward and keep the reader turning the pages.
Russo writes funny books, but the humor is usually subtle, which makes it all the more wicked. And for every jest, witticism or pun, there is also a profound reflection about life, love and relationships. This book will make you smile—and maybe even chuckle out loud—but more important, it will make you think. And for that alone, it is worth five stars.