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Empire Falls

Richard Russo

95,781 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0375726403 / ISBN 13: 9780375726408
Published by Knopf, 2000, 2000
Condition: As New Hardcover
From Jeff Bergman Books ABAA/ILAB (Fort Lee, NJ, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Printer Wrapper. As New. First Edition. Advanced Reading Copy (ARC). 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Mint copy of the Advance Reader's Edition. The information states a first printing of100,000. This is a rare bookon secondary market. Not many proofs made.I would think less than 1,000. Bookseller Inventory # 001752

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Empire Falls

Publisher: Knopf, 2000

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Printer Wrapper

Book Condition:As New

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“Russo writes with a warm, vibrant humanity.... A stirring mix of poignancy, drama and comedy.” —The Washington Post


Welcome to Empire Falls, a blue-collar town full of abandoned mills whose citizens surround themselves with the comforts and feuds provided by lifelong friends and neighbors and who find humor and hope in the most unlikely places, in this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Richard Russo.

Miles Roby has been slinging burgers at the Empire Grill for 20 years, a job that cost him his college education and much of his self-respect. What keeps him there? It could be his bright, sensitive daughter Tick, who needs all his help surviving the local high school. Or maybe it’s Janine, Miles’ soon-to-be ex-wife, who’s taken up with a noxiously vain health-club proprietor. Or perhaps it’s the imperious Francine Whiting, who owns everything in town–and seems to believe that “everything” includes Miles himself. In Empire Falls Richard Russo delves deep into the blue-collar heart of America in a work that overflows with hilarity, heartache, and grace.

Review:

Like most of Richard Russo's earlier novels, Empire Falls is a tale of blue-collar life, which itself increasingly resembles a kind of high-wire act performed without the benefit of any middle-class safety nets. This time, though, the author has widened his scope, producing a comic and compelling ensemble piece. There is, to be sure, a protagonist: fortysomething Miles Roby, proprietor of the local greasy spoon and the recently divorced father of a teenage daughter. But Russo sets in motion a large cast of secondary characters, drawn from every social stratum of his depressed New England mill town. We meet his ex-wife Janine, his father Max (another of Russo's cantankerous layabouts), and a host of Empire Grill regulars. We're also introduced to Francine Whiting, a manipulative widow who owns half the town--and who takes a perverse pleasure in pointing out Miles's psychological defects.

Miles does indeed have a tendency to take it on the chin. (At one point he alludes to his own "natural propensity for shit-eating.") And his role as Mr. Nice Guy thrusts him into all sorts of clashes with his not-so-nice contemporaries, even as the reader patiently waits for him to blow his top. It would be impossible to summarize Russo's multiple plot lines here. Suffice it to say that he touches on love and marriage, lust and loss and small-town economics, with more than a soupçon of class resentment stirred into the broth. This is, in a sense, an epic of small and large frustrations: "After all, what was the whole wide world but a place for people to yearn for their heart's impossible desires, for those desires to become entrenched in defiance of logic, plausibility, and even the passage of time, as eternal as polished marble." Yet Russo's comedic timing keeps the novel from collapsing into an orgy of breast-beating, and his dialogue alone--snappy and natural and efficiently poignant--is sufficient cause to put Empire Falls on the map. --Bob Brandeis

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Jeff Bergman Books ABAA/ILAB
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