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Customer Review

91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Russo 's Poignant Tale of Small Town Life Is Rewarding Read, September 22, 2002
This review is from: Empire Falls (Paperback)
This is my first novel by Richard Russo and I was captivated by his ability to breathe life into a diverse group of characters. From protagonist Miles Roby to his irascible father Max, his hauntingly sad mother Grace, his nemesis Mrs. Whiting, his touching daughter Tick, and many more, we are treated to people described so vividly they come to life and seem like the people we might know and want to either hang out with or avoid at all costs if we lived in Empire Falls.
There are too many plot lines to detail, but they all are brought together nicely and no reader is left with unanswered questions thanks to an interesting epilogue.
All the problems of seeking a better life but being relegated to the blue collar life of a mill town whose mill has long closed, are embodied in Miles Roby, reluctant proprietor of the town's grill. In the opening pages he sees his teen-age daughter Tick walking home from school with a hunched back weighed down by her symbolic backpack representing all the problems she faces---the dissolution of her parents marriage, a stepfather she despises, a widening emotional gap with her mother, the dreaded loss of friends and social standing, and being coupled with the school's most tortured and disturbed student.
The story moves slowly but the characters are so richly drawn you will be totally engrossed and hard pressed to put this one down. When the story does reach its climax, there are plenty of shocks and surprises and a realization that life is not perfect and its flaws are with us forever to either cope with or be overwhelmed by.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 28, 2012 11:48:04 AM PDT
As he did in NOBODY'S FOOL, it's an ensemble cross-section of an entire town that Russo portrays in terms of their relationships with the central character, Miles Roby. Russo's love for the small town people who comprise the great masses of America is reflected in this rich symphony of humanity. It's hard to capture the needs, dreams, frustrations and fears of so many characters; and so the reader can get lost. I felt that way toward the middle too, but I wanted to know what happened and kept on.
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Location: Hoover, Alabama USA

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