9780375701900

Straight Man

ISBN 10: 0375701907 / 0-375-70190-7
ISBN 13: 9780375701900
Publisher: Vintage Books
Publication Date: 1998
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis:
In this uproarious new novel, Richard Russo performs his characteristic high-wire walk between hilarity and heartbreak. Russos protagonist is William Henry Devereaux, Jr., the reluctant chairman of the English department of a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt. Devereaux's reluctance is partly rooted in his character--he is a born anarchist-- and partly in the fact that his department is more savagely divided than the Balkans. In the course of a single week, Devereaux will have his nose mangled by an angry colleague, imagine his wife is having an affair with his dean, wonder if a curvaceous adjunct is trying to seduce him with peach pits, and threaten to execute a goose on local television. All this while coming to terms with his philandering father, the dereliction of his youthful promise, and the ominous failure of certain vital body functions. in short, Straight Man is classic Russo--side-splitting and true-to-life, witty, compassionate, and impossible to put down.

Review:
"We have seen something like the story of William Henry Devereaux, Jr. in the novels of Richard Ford, Tom McGuane, Louis B. Jones and Larry McMurtry, to name but a few. Yet Russo's 'Straight Man'--a departure from his acclaimed upstate New York novels, 'Nobody's Fool' and 'The Risk Pool'-- is so funny, so beautifully written, so fully imagined, it is easy to forgive its familiarity. His narrator's description of life at a mediocre Pennsylvania college is wicked and precise, and easily a metaphor for the mean-spirited insanity of most institutions....Russo is an easy, elegant writer. The book is beautifully plotted, and Russo makes you care about Devereaux and his fate. He also makes you laugh out loud."

Joan Smith, Salon, 06/17/1997

Review:
"...Russo...is interested in more than generating laughter, and 'Straight Man' strikes me as the funniest serious novel I have read since--well, maybe since 'Portnoy's Complaint'....Plot is a minor consideration....The novel's greatest pleasures derive not from any blazing impatience to see what happens next, but from pitch-perfect dialogue, persuasive characterization and a rich progression of scenes, most of them crackling with an impudent, screwball energy reminiscent of Howard Hawks's movies.... Always infusing the comedy are sadness and smothered panic."

Tom De Haven, New York Times Book Review, 06/06/1997

 

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Straight Man: A Novel (ISBN: 0375701907 / 0-375-70190-7)
Russo, Richard
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Straight Man: A Novel (ISBN: 0375701907 / 0-375-70190-7)
Russo, Richard
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Book Description: Vintage. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0375701907 New, Perfect Condition. Ships within 24 hours and all purchases are guaranteed or your money back. Bookseller Inventory # C9.0027805

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Russo, Richard
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Russo, Richard
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Book Description: Random House USA Inc, United States, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 207 x 133 mm. Brand New Book. William Henry Devereaux, Jr., spiritually suited to playing left field but forced by a bad hamstring to try first base, is the unlikely chairman of the English department at West Central Pennsylvania University. Over the course of a single convoluted week, he threatens to execute a goose, has his nose slashed by a feminist poet, discovers that his secretary writes better fiction than he does, suspects his wife of having an affair with his dean, and finally confronts his philandering elderly father, the one-time king of American Literary Theory, at an abandoned amusement park. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780375701900

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Russo, Richard
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