Most helpful critical review
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Typical American novel
on 6 September 2009
The book is about Miles Roby, a guy too nice for his own good. He was the first of his family who could get a university degree, but came home to be with his mother in the last months of her life. Afterwards, he decided to stay in the small town (Empire Falls) and run a diner owned by Mrs Whiting, the heiress of the Whiting fortune. This may be some kind of favor for the fact that this mother took care of her handicapped daughter or because she wants him to hook up with her daughter. She doesn't let hem sell alcohol though, which he wants to do, to make the business prosper with the help of his brother and bceome the owner. Miles was left by his wife for a gym club owner, who visits the diner every day and challenges him to arm wrestle. Miles has a daughter who lives with her mother but is quite unhappy there. There's not a lot of drama evolving in the book, which for me is typical of American writers such as Richard Ford and John Updike. Miles and his struggles are described entertainingly enough though and he does wrestle free of the stranglehold some people hold over him.