Book Review: Richard Russo ~ Nobody’s Fool (1993)

Ordinary people are fascinating. That insight led to decades of success for Coronation Street and EastEnders. Likewise, Anthony Trollope’s 19th century Palliser series and John Updike’s Rabbit quartet of stunning novels.1 Russo taps into that truth. There’s virtually no sex, or violence. There are no gangsters, crooked politicians, sleaze. What’s there is is ordinary people living their lives. They have slabs of time where apparently nothing happens. Russo has created a community which is believable.

As with soup operas once a reader is committed to characters they want more. The magnetism of Russo’s novel is that his characters are compelling in a profound understanding of ‘ordinary’. His genius extends to a wry, sardonic tone, which pervades his characters. There’s chemistry between the characters.

Nobody’s Fool is the first of a trilogy and I’m hooked.

Try this

“Exactly which of your doctor’s instructions are you following these days,” Sully inquired. “All of them, “Carl said to the ceiling. “Everyone.”

“He advised you to drink and smoke and screw your brains loose?”

“Except those,” Carl grinned drunkenly.1


1 For Trollope see Palliser novels – Wikipedia John Updike’s Rabbit series sets an Olympian standard. The series began in 1960 and about every ten years a new volume came out making four altogether. Russo is Updike’s heir.

2 Russo, Richard. Nobody’s Fool (p. 184). Atlantic Books. Kindle Edition.

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