Kathleen Drowne: Understanding Richard Russo



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Understanding Richard Russo explores the significant themes and patterns in this contemporary American author’s seven novels a memoir and two short story collections including the 2002 Pulitzer Prize winning novel Empire Falls Known for assembling large casts of eccentric characters and sweeping multi generational storylines Russo brings to life hard hit ural manufacturing towns and their inhabitants even as he explores the bewildering painful complexities of family Jacques Prevert relationships This critical study by Kathleen Drowne firstecounts Russo’s biography then explores his novels chronologically and ends with a chapter dedicated to his other works Drowne invit.

Es eaders to appreciate fully Russo’s evocative portrayals of hardscrabble working class life in failing ural towns of the Northeast by identifying major themes and patterns present in Russo’s workIn Mohawk The Risk Pool Nobody’s Fool Empire Falls and Bridge of Sighs eaders can see the primary ecurring theme of Russo’s work the plight of deteriorating The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party rural communities and the dramatic impact of that decline on their blue collar inhabitants A second important theme in Russo’s fiction is the complicatedelationship between emotionally scarred sons and their abusive absent or neglectful fathers; such elationships fuel the narratives of The Risk

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Ool Nobody’s Fool Empire Falls Bridge of Sighs and That Old Cape Magic Russo also utilizes large casts of ealistic but highly eccentric characters worn out shopkeepers and odd jobbers alcoholics invalids and ne’er do wells whose lives are emblematic of both the dignity and the desperation of crumbling Rust Belt townsRusso possesses as one New York Times Blue Moose reviewer commented “that wonderfully unfashionable gift for effortless storytelling on a sweeping multigenerational scale” which undoubtedly cements his place among his contemporaries in modern American literature Drowne offerseaders an insightful point of entrance into Russo’s body of work to date.