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"What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" by Raymond Carver
Join Carver in his second collection of stories as he rightly celebrates those characters that others too often consider peripheral.
"The Longest Ride" by Nicolas Sparks
In the tradition of his beloved first novel, "The Notebook", Nicholas Sparks returns with the remarkable story of two couples whose lives intersect in profound and surprising ways.
“The finished product is an homage to books, real books. The kind you can hold in your hand, feel the creamy pages in your fingers, smell the pulp and ink and be mesmerized by the intricacies of the artwork.” -- Melanie Plenda, Concord Monitor, 5/24/12
“The real beauty of this volume, of course, transcends its packaging. Russo is an old-fashioned storyteller who builds a narrative piece by piece, allowing characters to discover themselves along the way.”-- Joan Silverman, Portland Press Herald, 5/27/12
“Mr. Russo and his artist daughter, Kate Russo, have created a new work of art…”-- Rachel Hodin, The Local, nytimes.com, 5/30/12
“The presentation is certainly appealing, full of tastefully restrained designs that harmonize with Russo's elegant prose. But the real draw are the tales being told…” --Christian Toto, breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood, 5/30/12
About the Author
Richard Russo grew up in Gloversville, New York, and attended the University of Arizona, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree, a Master of Fine Arts, and a PhD. He has taught at Southern Illinois University and Colby College, and is the author of seven novels, including That Old Cape Magic, Bridge of Sighs, Straight Man, Nobody’s Fool, and Empire Falls, which won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize. He has also written a collection of short stories and several produced screenplays. He lives in coastal Maine and Boston. Kate Russo was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in 1982, and moved to Maine with her family at the age of nine. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Colby College and a Master of Fine Arts from The Slade School of Fine Art in London, England. She currently lives in Rockland, Maine with her husband, Tom. Her art has been exhibited all over England and recently at Susan Maasch Fine Art in Portland, Maine.
I am an unabashed fan of Richard Russo. As a longtime resident of upstate NY (WNY), his writing speaks to me. He is a master at capturing the dichotomy of die-hardiness/hopelessness that characterizes small manufacturing towns.
This collection of 3 shorts stories and a novella is physically simple and beautiful. Four slim volumes are slipcased and include postcard-sized original paintings by Richard's daughter, Kate. The paintings are very evocative and greatly add to each of the pieces. I found myself not wanting to open the volumes all the way so I could preserve the initial look and feel; I'm sure that as the years go by, I'll get over that so I can mark up my favorite passages.
And therein lies the *only* disappointment with this set. I understand where Russo is coming from in his rant against Amazon [...] and his opposition to ebooks, but I love Amazon and ebooks, and it would have been much easier to capture all the great quotes to go back and mull them and take notes and such if this book was available in digital format. But that's a small nit; I also happen to adore physical books.
I read the stories in random order - just pulled one out of the set and read it. The first story I read, "Intervention", is very good but the weakest piece in the set. It's about a realtor who has just been diagnosed with cancer and how his relationships shape his decision for moving forward. His wife, old friend, brother, and posthumously his father and uncle, all make an appearance and weigh on his mind - especially the relationship between his father and uncle - and he gains insight into his relationships with each and comes to terms with his diagnosis through the lens of how each has acted in certain situations. A good read.Read more ›
Richard Russo is one of my favorite authors, and Interventions does not disappoint. It comes as four separately bound volumes in a slipcase, and each volume includes postcard-sized artwork by Russo's daughter, Kate. The art and the books complement one another beautifully. Three of the volumes are short stories, while the fourth is a short memoir.
The first volume, Intervention, is about a realtor who is dealing with a health scare that causes him to take stock, ponder the value of fighting for his life, and consider past relationships that have molded him. I love Russo's prose and insights. Here's a favorite from the book: "Perhaps his father had lacked imagination, as Uncle Jack had maintained. And maybe, as his brother Bill had too readily conceded, all their father's days had been rainy. But anyone who imagined the man liked standing in lines was mistaken. Nobody enjoyed that. Nor could he have enjoyed some minion telling him what he was entitled to when he finally made it to the front of that line. By the same token, though, could a man judge his own merits, reward his own efforts, and call it justice?".
The second volume is The Whore's Child, which was previously published in a collection of short stories. It's the story of a nun who crashes a creative writing class to help her tell her own story. It contains a wonderful story within the story, and I enjoyed reading it for a second time.
The third volume is called Horseman, and was my least favorite of the collection. It tells the story of a college professor's life, and the tension between her personal and professional endeavors.
The final volume is Russo's short memoir of growing up in a mill town in upstate New York.Read more ›
"The two accidents, in such proximity, represented a genuine 'I told you so' moment, but Ray'd let it pass. He and Paula had been married for close to thirty years, thanks in large part to a mutual willingness to let an arched eyebrow do the heavy lifting of soliloquy."
It's phrases like that which make me, and many others, true Richard Russo fanatics. His prose is so witty and "on the nose" and his understanding of long-marriages is evidenced in several of his novels (e.g., "Straight Man" and "That Old Cape Magic"). This set, "Interventions", will be familiar; it provides all the Russo-type characters we have come to know and the father-son relationship yet again visited for analysis. And dry wit and snappy repartee are always in abundance.
This small set of short stories and one novella is not cheap. It's a pricy little package, but it will be worth it to both fans of Russo's who just can't wait to read the next thing he's written, and to those who still appreciate, even love, the look and feel, smell and possession of a real book. The art, provided by Russo's daughter Kate, is lovely and enhances the set. I felt I'd gotten MY money's worth from this rich gift.
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Rick Russo is the author of six previous novels and THE WHORE'S CHILD, a collection of stories. In 2002, he received the Pulitzer Prize for EMPIRE FALLS. He lives with his wife in Camden, Maine, and Boston. Photo credit Elena Seibert