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The Whore’s Child and Other Stories (Richard Russo)

1.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
On the one hand, Russo is a talented writer (a Pulitzer winner) who has a melodic style that I never regret reading… on the other, I feel fairly strongly that Russo’s far more suited towards long novels than the short story format. (In fact, I think that’s a direct correlation between the length of his work and my enjoyment of it). Though there are interesting characters here (a Belgian nun who’s the titular character of the collection, a photographer who learns more about his wife after she’s dead, and so on), there just isn’t enough depth developed in the characters or plot lines to really move me. As a whole, the collection feels a bit like something that was published to capitalize on his Pulitzer, as opposed to a work that would have stood up on its own.

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Empire Falls (Richard Russo)

5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is one of my favorite books — frighteningly believable characters who are flawed, layered, and so easy to relate to. These are characters who are middle aged and older, trying to live with the mistakes they made years ago: dropping out of college because of a crush, affairs, unrequited love in many forms… and also trying to reason through a variety of parenting decisions. The town that serves as the setting for this book has its own story to tell — a blue-collar town that is on its last legs.

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