Russo, Rick Straight Man

ISBN 13: 9780099376217

Straight Man

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9780099376217: Straight Man

Hank Devereaux, a fifty-year-old, one-time novelist now serving as temporary chair of the English department, has more than a mid-life crisis to contend with when he learns that he must cull 20 per cent of his department to meet budget. Half in love with three women, unable to understand his younger daughter or come to terms with his father, he has a dangerous philosophy that life, and academic life, could be simpler, but he fails to see the larger consequences of his own actions or of the small-world politics that ebb and flow around him, as his colleagues jostle for position and marriages fall apart and regroup. The despair of his wife, and the scourge of the campus geese, he is a man at odds with himself and caught somewhere between cause and effect.

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Review:

First Jane Smiley came out of the comedy closet with Moo, a campus satire par excellence, and now Richard Russo has gotten in on the groves-of-academe game. Straight Man is hilarious sport, with a serious side. William Henry Devereaux Jr., is almost 50 and stuck forever as chair of English at West Central Pennsylvania University. It is April and fear of layoffs--even among the tenured--has reached mock-epic proportions; Hank has yet to receive his department budget and finds himself increasingly offering comments such as "Always understate necrophilia" to his writing students. Then there are his possible prostate problems and the prospect of his father's arrival. Devereaux Sr., "then and now, an academic opportunist," has always been a high-profile professor and a low-profile parent.

Though Hank tries to apply William of Occam's rational approach (choose simplicity) to each increasingly absurd situation, and even has a dog named after the philosopher, he does seem to cause most of his own enormous difficulties. Not least when he grabs a goose and threatens to off a duck (sic) a day until he gets his budget. The fact that he is also wearing a fake nose and glasses and doing so in front of a TV camera complicates matters even further. Hank tries to explain to one class that comedy and tragedy don't go together, but finds the argument "runs contrary to their experience. Indeed it may run contrary to my own." It runs decidedly against Richard Russo's approach in Straight Man, and the result is a hilarious and touching novel.

From the Publisher:

"Russo is a master craftsman ... The blue-collar heartache at the center of his fiction has the sheen of Dickens but the epic levity of John Irving."
-- The Boston Globe

"What makes Richard Russo so admirable as a novelist is that his natural grace as a storyteller is matched by his compassion for his characters."
-- John Irving

"Russo proves himself a master at evoking the sights, feelings and smells of a town ... He has succeeded in creating characters with the emotional weight of people we've known in real life."
--The New York Times

"After the last sentence is read, the reader continues to see Russo's tender, messed-up people coming out of doorways, lurching through life. And keeps on seeing them because they are as real as we are."
-- E. Annie Proulx

"It's about time that people looking for a good read discovered the novels of Richard Russo."
-- Publisher's Weekly

"Richard Russo's novel is as simple as family love, yet nearly as complicated."
-- San Francisco Chronicle

"Self-knowledge, along with love in all its forms, from lifelong friendships to consuming sexual passions, is what this remarkably likable, beautifully written novel is all about."
-- Washington Post Book World

"Funny, bighearted, resolutely untrendy, ultimately moving ... at once a delightful entertainment and a wise handbook for living."
-- New York Newsday

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Hank Devereaux, a fifty-year-old, one-time novelist now serving as temporary chair of the English department, has more than a mid-life crisis to contend with when he learns that he must cull 20 per cent of his department to meet budget. Half in love with three women, unable to understand his younger daughter or come to terms with his father, he has a dangerous philosophy that life, and academic life, could be simpler, but he fails to see the larger consequences of his own actions or of the small-world politics that ebb and flow around him, as his colleagues jostle for position and marriages fall apart and regroup. The despair of his wife, and the scourge of the campus geese, he is a man at odds with himself and caught somewhere between cause and effect. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099376217

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Hank Devereaux, a fifty-year-old, one-time novelist now serving as temporary chair of the English department, has more than a mid-life crisis to contend with when he learns that he must cull 20 per cent of his department to meet budget. Half in love with three women, unable to understand his younger daughter or come to terms with his father, he has a dangerous philosophy that life, and academic life, could be simpler, but he fails to see the larger consequences of his own actions or of the small-world politics that ebb and flow around him, as his colleagues jostle for position and marriages fall apart and regroup. The despair of his wife, and the scourge of the campus geese, he is a man at odds with himself and caught somewhere between cause and effect. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099376217

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Book Description 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 129mm x 198mm x 26mm. Paperback. Hank Devereaux, a fifty-year-old, one-time novelist now serving as temporary chair of the English department, has more than a mid-life crisis to contend with when he learns that he must cu.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 416 pages. 0.288. Bookseller Inventory # 9780099376217

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Book Description Vintage/Ebury (a Division of Random. Book Condition: New. 1998. Paperback. At age fifty, Professor William Henry Devereaux, Jr, has more than a mid-life crisis to deal with. As a child, his parents found him merely exasperating. Half in love with three women, unable to understand his daughter or come to terms with his father, Hank has a dangerous philosophy. Num Pages: 416 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 203 x 133 x 26. Weight in Grams: 286. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099376217

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Book Description Vintage/Ebury (a Division of Random, 1998. Book Condition: New. 1998. Paperback. At age fifty, Professor William Henry Devereaux, Jr, has more than a mid-life crisis to deal with. As a child, his parents found him merely exasperating. Half in love with three women, unable to understand his daughter or come to terms with his father, Hank has a dangerous philosophy. Num Pages: 416 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 203 x 133 x 26. Weight in Grams: 286. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099376217

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