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The Whore's Child: And Other Stories

Richard Russo

3,376 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 009943752X / ISBN 13: 9780099437529
Published by Vintage Books USA, 2003
Condition: Good Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Whore's Child: And Other Stories

Publisher: Vintage Books USA

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: Good

Edition: New Ed.

About this title

Synopsis:

In this entrancing first collection of stories, a master storyteller focuses on a fresh and fascinating range of human behaviour, revealing himself as an even more versatile and accomplished writer than his acclaimed novels have shown. With a delicious wit and gentle humanity reminiscent of Anne Tyler, and an edginess that recalls Richard Ford, Russo here captures both heartrending tenderness and bewildering horror with a fluency of tone that is all his own. And, as with all Russo's characters we warm to these newcomers almost in spite of themselves. In the title story, a septuagenarian nun resolutely invades the narrator's college writing workshop with an incredible saga; a seasoned Hollywood moviemaker uncovers a 25 year old flame he never knew he'd harboured; a precious fifth grader puzzles over life, love and baseball as he watches his parents marriage dissolve; another child is forced into a harrowing cross-country escape; and an elderly couple rediscover the power - and misery - of their relationship during a long awaited retreat to a hurricane swept resort island.

Review:

In The Whore's Child, Richard Russo's first collection of short fiction, the 2002 Pulitzer Prize-wining author of Empire Falls explores difficult emotional territory while retaining the assured wisdom and humor of his best work. Infidelity, self-reflection, and the fallibility of memory come into consideration in this entertaining and perceptive collection. The book's titular story sets the tone for the whole: an elderly nun crashes a college writing workshop and composes her own life story, sharing the details of her childhood growing up in a convent as the abandoned daughter of a prostitute. As her troubling story unfolds, the class realizes the fictions she has unknowingly imposed upon it. Other stories examine familial relationships and responsibility: the bittersweet "Joyride" follows the desperate road trip of a mother and son, each running from troubles they won't admit to. The collection's best and most lighthearted story, "The Mysteries of Linwood Hart," explores the daydreaming, curious mind of 10-year-old Linwood as he ponders the self-defeating behavior of his family, the desires of inanimate objects, and his perceived place at the center of the universe. Russo surveys these subjects with skilled ease and accuracy, communicating a quiet understanding of his characters and their personal yet universal concerns. Russo, like Flannery O'Connor, has a gift for conveying the absurdity and severity of everyday life with brutal honesty, humor, and compassion:

It was an awful place, but Lin understood it was as perfectly real as every place else in the world, which was large beyond imagining, containing every single place he himself had ever been or never would see in his entire life.
Uncommon in its natural insight, The Whore's Child recognizes the often unwelcome realities of experience and is all the more exceptional for it. --Ross Doll

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