This was the second Richard Russo book I have read. The first was "The Bridge of Sighs". Both left me disappointed in the end. A friend of mine who has read both of these in addition to "Empire Falls" said that "Empire Falls" was the better of the three. I feel as though Russo's writing tends to be over desprictive and under plot in the sense that you're reading more of a biography than a actual sequence of events. I found myself saying "get on with it already" several times in the book. As a previous review stated, the novel does exhibit a well defined and realistic family profile. Perhaps this is Russo's main goal in writing and I'm expecting something that is not in the author's preference.
This is the first Russo I've read and I loved this study of family dynamics! I liked even the unlikable characters and really appreciated his writing.
I have just discovered Russo. Sometimes he gets a bit windy and repetitive, and sometimes the ending is anti-climatic and feels too short for the wind-up. I love his character depictions- I feel like they are standing right next to me, and his descriptions of marriage, youth, and New England are great. This may not be the greatest literature ever, but it is a great escape, and I find that I ignore my children's requests for food while reading it!
This was a good book. For a while, I thought it was about a man who never grew up, blaming his dysfunctional parents for how he turned out. I changed my mind as I read further. His daughter's rehearsal dinner was so funny that I really laughed my head off. After that, everything changed for the better. I'd recommend it.
Funny and poignant tale about marriage, relationships, betrayal, and the unsought puzzle of self-awareness. Well-written. An enjoyable read.