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on 4 August 2012
I am in agreement with all the other 5 star reviews - you read this book for a feeling of belonging, or rather that as a reader you want to belong - to this town and to these people. It's impossible to think that the town of Empire Falls and the story told within isn't real, Richard Russo is a master storyteller and 'people' creator, this was my first book by him and it definitely won't be my last. Wonderful.
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on 11 April 2017
After reader 120 pages I felt no further interest in these characters or situation and only wish I could see what most other people seem to see in this novel.
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on 31 October 2017
Too much info dumping and a prologue that takes up 3% of the book! Found it dull and long winded with too many run on sentences
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on 29 December 2014
Great book. I went on to read all of this authors books one after another.
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on 4 February 2015
A superb book. The characters have remained with me since reading it. It will be one of those books I shall return to.
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on 6 November 2015
A wonderful writer!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 April 2013
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.
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on 20 March 2015
A splendid book with a rich and very agreeable, searching and convincing story. Empire Falls rings with the authenticity of small town America. The chief protagonist is Miles Roby who has been denied the college education he wanted by a series of unfortunate circumstances. He’s been the short-order cook, with the help of his disabled brother David, at the Empire Falls Grill for twenty years. His wife is divorcing him, but Tick, his daughter (christened Christina) has taken her father’s side.

Character creation is superb in this book, from Miles’s reprobate father who is not above stealing the odd twenty dollars from his son, to the overbearing owner of the Grill, Francine Whiting, with whom his family has had a connection that we only gradually learn about. Miles is a deeply thoughtful and attractive character who you may really grow to like and worry about. Tick is another favourite character, a talented artist, she is unhappy with her mother’s new relationship with a man who calls himself ‘The silver fox’. Russo is such a generous writer; even those people who are minor/less attractive, shine through the writing as people you care about.

Some of the events of this novel are shocking, especially those connected to John Voss, a student whose life has been haunted by desertion and cruelty. The episodes set in the past explain much about the brilliantly created characters and about their lives, their worries and their moments of ironic acceptance. The last few chapters were particularly gripping and I loved the way Russo managed to introduce a wholly gripping, brilliantly managed ending.

You will discover blue collar America in this book, which is a Pulitzer Prizewinner and I recommend it without reservation. Deeply compulsive and rewarding this is one of the best books I’ve read this, or any other year.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 August 2014
This is my third Richard Russo novel and all three have been a delight from beginning to end. I was sorry when I finished it and had to stop. If you have read it and feel the same way, I recommend Risk Pool and The Straight Man, both in a similar style to this.

I won't give away anything about the story. It is a vast portrait of humanity in colours that are both serious and funny. It is mildly comedic, which I don't usually like, but this is different from most funny books. The funny things are funny because they are so real, and if you took away the funny side you would still have a moving drama full of sadness.

I notice with Richard Russo that about once a page, maybe more, I encounter a sentence that is so perfect it makes me smile, usually an observation that is accurate, witty and beautifully phrased. Enjoy.
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on 28 December 2013
this was a great purchase, I was delighted about the delivery of this CD and hope that next purchase will be the same
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