With his Pulitzer Prize winning and best selling novel Empire Falls, Richard Russo has become a well-known author. In Mohawk, his first novel, we see, if somewhat imperfectly, the writer he would become. Like his other novels, Mohawk is the story of a small town in the northeastern part of the U.S. The town - in this case Mohawk - is a place on the wane as the industry that fueled it peters out. In this story, we follow the adventures of Dallas Younger, his ex-wife Anne and their son Randall in the late '60s and early '70s. Dallas lives a life of general irresponsibility and likes it that way. Anne pines away for her cousin's husband, a wheelchair-bound man who she sleeps with every twenty years or so. Randall has his own issues to deal with including his efforts to evade the draft. As with Russo's other stories, the characters are more important than the plot, and he is able to make them compelling enough that we want to keep reading. Compared with his other novels, this one is rather serious, although there is some humor. This novel is good but not as great as his other books; in a way, this book is like an exhibition game before the regular season; we get a general feel for what Russo does but it is still just warming up. For example, in Dallas, we see the prototype for the deeper Sully in Nobody's Fool. Other elements of this story are revisited in his other stories. I would recommend this book, but don't judge Russo by this story. He's just getting warmed up here.