3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Empire Falls - Richard Russo,
This review is from: Empire Falls (Paperback)
I only found out about halfway through that this novel beat The Corrections to the Pulitzer Prize in 2002. Reading it, I can see why. Whilst I love The Corrections, this is... more. It's one of those enveloping books that, despite the occasional character who's a bit... archetypal (the Good Man, the Manipulative Crone). I have a hard time really explaining why I like it (indeed, why I like most things), but it rings (mostly) true, it is rich with the conflict of human life, the struggle against the tide of life where most things seem futile, really, and no action or inaction is right or wrong, just varying degrees of arguable. People muddle through and do the thing they think is best at the time, for their own [variously] mad, rational, incomprehensible, petty reasons. Like, of course, life.
If anything, you don't get to spend *enough* time with the characters, cause this is quite a lengthy book and there are quite a few of 'em. But they're a fascinating bunch. Russo writes incredibly well, with a kind of poetic realism, and is very intelligent about people's motivations and the kind of emotional scrapes they allow themselves to get into. His perceptions and illuminations vis a vis his characters were, for me, the cherry on this cake.
The whole thing is excellent from beginning to [fantastic] end. (Which could have gone very wrong, but didn't, being handled so well, with no exploitativeness/trashiness/triteness (whatever). I would recommend it completely - it's gone on my List.