Mohawk, New York, is one of those small towns that lie almost entirely on the wrong side of the tracks. Its citizens, too, have fallen on hard times. Dallas Younger, a star athlete in high school, now drifts from tavern to poker game, losing money, and, inevitably, another set of false teeth. His ex-wife, Anne, is stuck in a losing battle with her mother over the care of her sick father. And their son, Randall, is deliberately neglecting his school work--because in a place like Mohawk it doesn't pay to be too smart.
In Mohawk, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Richard Russo, explores these lives with profound compassion and flint-hard wit. Out of derailed ambitions and old loves, secret hatreds and communal myths, he has created a richly plotted, densely populated, and wonderfully written novel that captures every nuance of America's backyard.
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The town of Mohawk may be provincial but it's far from sleepy. Its inhabitants seem perpetually awake, and not only on Saturday at two in the morning, "when the bars are closing and people are forced to consider the prospect of returning home with so many of the night's dreams unfulfilled." Richard Russo focuses on several characters who are leading lives of extreme--and extremely funny--longing. Dallas Younger, for instance, hit his peak playing high-school football, and it's been downhill from there. He has no idea what women, particularly his ex-wife, are thinking, which makes him really glad there are none in on the local poker game. And he's still at a loss to figure out why he has no relationship with his son (probably something to do with the fact that he never sees him). Even the calendar at the local grill is for 1966, since the owner figures "the months are the same" and being a few days out of whack doesn't matter. This same man has a private betting system. Choosing among the top jockeys isn't that hard--he tries to assess their current levels of pride, concentration, and desire. Richard Russo shows us that these same qualities exist in his hard-luck characters.From the Inside Flap:
Originally published in 1986 in the Vintage Contemporaries paperback series--and reissued now in hardcover alongside his masterful new novel, "Empire Falls--Richard Russo's "Mohawk remains today as it was described then: A first novel with all the assurance of a mature writer at the peak of form and ambition, "Mohawk is set in upstate New York and chronicles over a dozen lives in a leather town, long after the tanneries have started closing down. Ranging over three generations--and clustered mainly in two clans, the Grouses and the Gaffneys--these remarkably various lives share only the common human dilemmas and the awesome physical and emotional presence of Mohawk itself.
For this is a town like Winesburg, Ohio or "Our Town, in our time, that encompasses a plethora of characters, events and mysteries. At once honestly tragic and sharply, genuinely funny, Mohawk captures life, then affirms it.
"From the Hardcover edition.
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Book Description Vintage Books USA, 1986. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0394749103
Book Description Random House USA Inc, 1988. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110394749103