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Celebrating the Life

[Longhorn Review] Empire Falls

Material Type: All, books — Tags: divorce, family, fiction, New England, pulitzer prize — Posted on July 15, 2008, 4:07 pm

By: Richard Russo

I am really recommending any of Richard Russo’s works. All of them are great and
you can follow a rise in the quality of his writing as you read newer and newer
works. The basic premise seems to be the same in each of his novels (at least the 4
of his 5 which I have read): they’re all set in a small town in the American
Northeast and full of wacky characters -- some in dire situations, some suffering
for caring about those in dire situations, and some suffering at the hands of those
in dire situations. Either way, the characters are what are great about Russo’s
writing. He makes you believe that these unreal folk are real and he makes you
suffer along with them, while at the same time you often want to give them a
smack-in-the-head wake-up call. This title won Russo the Pulitzer Prize in fiction
for 2002. Basically, it is a chilling commentary on Columbine, but the plot, as in
his other works, is almost incidental to how the characters react to what is
occurring. Russo is always funny and often at the same time heart-wrenching. His
books are quick reads and all wonderfully realized.

Reviewer: Beth Kerr

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