11 November 2009

Short Review: Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo

Nobody's Fool was the first Richard Russo book I read. Here is the publisher's summary:

In 1750, without warning or apparent reason, the mineral springs of the colonial resort town of Bath, New York, ran dry. A little more than 200 years later, after numerous warnings and for too many reasons, Sully, the unluckiest man in this unlucky town, isn't doing too hot either. He's broke, out of a job, and the owner of a dead pickup truck. The good news? Sully has the dumbest man in North Bath as his devoted friend, a long-suffering, long-married woman who loves him, a forgiving eighty-year-old landlady who converses with her late husband, a spastic doberman as a watchdog, and the finest one-legged drunken Jewish lawyer this side of Albany. Now, if Sully could only banish his father's slyly grinning ghost and earn his own son's respect, he might just turn the whole damn thing around. Nobody's Fool is a funny, roguish novel that captures the imagination and provides a rich journey into a special world peopled by characters so real, so vital, we feel we've known them all our lives.
My reading notes on the book are sparse, but I commented on the great character development. In fact, although I read the book in 2006, I still remember Sully, his landlady, and several other characters. The plot is complex with intertwined stories but is not so complicated that you lose your place. I found the book to be funny, sad, and very real. Highly recommended. I also noted that the reader for the unabridged audio (Ron McLarty) was perfect for the novel.

The cover shows the 1994 Knopf Doubleday edition. (Source: Bought; see review policy)

Nobody's Fool at Powell's
Nobody's Fool at Amazon
These 3 links lead to affiliate programs.

Reading at the Beach is the host for this meme: Each week she invites us to spotlight a book whose title begins with the featured letter. This week it's N.


Sandy Nawrot 11/11/09, 7:31 AM  

Sounds like a keeper! I love the cover too. It reminds me of half of the old houses where I grew up.

Nise' 11/11/09, 7:50 AM  

Sully sounds like a great character. I have not read any of Russo's books.

Anonymous,  11/11/09, 7:57 AM  

Sounds like a good book. I have never read anything by Richard Russo but I do have another one of his books that I want to read.

Unknown 11/11/09, 8:27 AM  

I haven't read any Russo either, but have a copy of Empire Falls here and really want to read it soon. I have heard that his latest one is very good too. I've not seem this one mentioned before, so thank you for letting me know about it.

S. Krishna 11/11/09, 9:40 AM  

Wow, that's impressive that you still remember the characters all these years later! I've never read any Russo but I'll have to give him a try.

Anonymous,  11/11/09, 9:53 AM  

It's definitely a good sign that you still remember the characters.

JoAnn 11/11/09, 9:58 AM  

I love Russo and plan to go back and read his older books...will start with this one!

Margot 11/11/09, 11:03 AM  

I haven't read Russo but I've put him on my library list. Thanks for introducing me to him.

Shona 11/11/09, 11:16 AM  

Looks really interesting. I haven't read any book by this author. Will give a try. Thanks

Julie P. 11/11/09, 11:39 AM  

Loved, loved, loved EMPIRE FALLS so I'd like to read this one!

bermudaonion 11/11/09, 12:45 PM  

I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I've never read any of Russo's work. I hope to remedy that soon, though.

Cath 11/11/09, 1:06 PM  

I have mixed feelings about Russo. I loved Empire Falls but hated Bridge of Sighs. This sounds like it would fall somewhere squarely in the middle.

Dorte H 11/11/09, 1:34 PM  

Oh, this sounds good (though the dog scares me).

Louise 11/11/09, 3:46 PM  

From the blurp you wrote first I thought this does not sound like a book for me, but seeing that you recommend it, I am having second thougths - also because I love the cover.

me again 11/11/09, 7:39 PM  

This is now on my TBR list. Thanks for the recommendation; I think I'd really like this!
(My N book is on my blog today.)

Anonymous,  11/11/09, 7:59 PM  

Another new to me author.

Thanks for playing!

Veens 11/12/09, 1:56 AM  

I have not even heard of this author. Sounds good though!

J.G. 8/2/10, 9:25 AM  

It bears mentioning that Paul Newman played Sully in the movie of the same name. It's somewhat simplified from the book but still fabulous: funny, warm, and deeply affecting. The cast also includes Jessica Tandy (in her last role), Melanie Griffith, and Bruce Willis (in a character role).

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