Hysterical! The characters were so vivid. The main character is a bumbling loser who glides through life on wit alone. Despite all this he ends up being a likable underachiever. I couldn't put it down.
Richard Russo is an excellent author. His style is easy to get into and so well written. I feel as though I would recognize his characters if I met them on the street. His tale of small town upstate New York is so believable and interesting. I have read much of Russo's works, and this one is as good as any I've read so far.
A delightful story involving very realisitc characters and situations. You just gotta love Sully even though his lifestyle and judgements are sometimes frustrating.
The reader of this audio does a fantastic job of bringing these characters to life.
I really enjoyed this book and story.
Richard Russo never fails to please; but you have to be in the right mood I think to read some of his books which you know in advance will contain well-developed characters you may or may not like, the best and worst in people, towns that feel real but aren't, and plots that have to grow on you like fungus. In the past I can remember reading Empire Falls and wondering as I turned the last page, 'why did I enjoy reading this so much?' It's a quandary...and that's the perfect word for his books.
Nobody's Fool is a character study. Translation: The focus of the book is on development of the characters, and not the plot.
The character in question is Don Sullivan, better known as Sully to his friends and enemies (sometimes it's hard to tell the difference) and the entire northeastern small town of North Bath. By the time this book is over, the reader knows Sully backwards and forwards and inside and out - and will know most of the other characters pretty well also. On the surface, Sully seems to be a simple man. But in reality, Sully is a complex character, and it truly takes the full 500+ pages for the reader to get to know him. He's sixty, divorced and single, but has been in a relationship with a married woman off and on for over twenty years. He lives in a flat in the house that he shares with his landlady, the unforgettable Miss Beryl. He's very caring and charming, but every other sentence out of his mouth is an insult - although usually meant well. He's a natural leader, but avoids responsibility. He's hardworking and intelligent, but stubborn as can be. And he is frequently his own worst enemy as he is subject to what he calls "stupid streaks", when he just can't help doing stupid things.
My one complaint is that this book is long (550 pages) and dense. There were maybe eight chapter divisions, with a small font and very little white space in the book. I found the book far too easy to put down, primarily because I'm used to plot driven novels. It's the plot that usually keeps me reading. But the important thing here is that I DID keep reading, because I came to really care about Sully and the other characters. In fact, I had to return the book to the library once and put myself back on the waitlist for it in order to finish it. That says a lot about the book also. It was written in 1995, and is STILL consistently waitlisted at our library.
I'm now eager to see the movie that was made from the book. I understand it stars Paul Newman, and I can totally picture him in the role of Sully.
Lovely meandering character piece set in a small upstate New York town, where jack-of-all-trades Donald Sullivan faces a shaky future with a bum knee, a vitriolic ex-wife, and a grown son he is only now beginning to know.
Sixty-year-old Sully is "nobody's fool," except maybe his own. Out of work (undeclared-income work is what he does, when he can), down to his last few bucks, hampered by an arthritic broken knee, Sully is worried that he's started on a run of bad luck. And he has. The banker son of his octogenarian landlady wants him evicted; Sully's estranged son comes home for Thanksgiving only to have his wife split; Sully's own high-strung ex-wife seems headed for a nervous breakdown; and his longtime lover is blaming him for her daughter's winding up in the hospital with a busted jaw. But Sully's biggest problem is the memory of his own abusive father, a ghost who haunts his every day. As he demonstrated in Mohawk (Random, 1986) and The Risk Pool (Random, 1989), Russo knows the small towns of upstate New York and the people who inhabit them; he writes with humor and compassion. A delight. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/93.
- Charles Michaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, Mass.