- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 24 hours and 16 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: September 5, 2003
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0000D1BXJ
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Nobody's Fool Audiobook – Unabridged
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I am happy to say that it may be my favorite one of all, comparable to Empire Falls.
Brief summary and review, no spoilers:
This story takes place in upstate New York in the small village of North Bath. The place has become one of those small towns where commerce has passed it by and the town is hoping to get an amusement park built nearby in order to bring people back.
Donald "Sully" Sullivan is the main character in this novel and he is 60 years old and is the upstairs tenant of his 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Beryl. Her son, often referred to as "the Bank", is jealous of Sullly and is one of those trying to get the amusement park built.
Sully is about as down and out on luck as is the town, but he gets by his wits and by hard work. He works doing construction work for a philandering boss named Carl who is married to the town beauty. Sully's best friend (or at least the man who hangs around him the most) is the simple-minded yet sweet character nicknamed Rub.
Things start to change when Sully becomes involved with his son Peter and his grandson Will who have returned to North Bath and when Sully starts to have more and more problems with his ailing knee. What happens to Sully and his friends and family? What characters will end up staying with each other? Will the amusement park happen?
And as with any Russo novel, we have an assorted group of eccentric and wonderful characters who provide us with banter and humor mixed in with some truly poignant and memorable moments. We also learn about each characters past, and in particular about Sully's abuseive father, and how that affected Sully and made him the person he is today.
I flat out loved this book. It was made into a move in the early 1990's with Paul Newman as Sully and it was wonderful picturing him in the role as I read the book.
Highly recommended. The sequel Everybody's Fool was just released recently and I plan on reading that soon.
I'm on my second reading of this, and it's unlikely to be my last. A dark comedy, it's a perfect balance of small tragedies and comic relief, with unforgettable characters, including Beryl Peoples, surely one of the most likeable characters in literature.
If the novel has any fault, it would be the rendering of Janey, which strikes me as exaggerated and a bit short of completely believable.
A friend tells me that the sequel "Everybody's Fool" is not as good, which would be consistent with sequels in general, but I aim to find out. Of Russo's works, I have read only this one and "Empire Falls", and find "Nobody's Fool" to be the better of the two.