Reading Richard Russo is like slipping your weary dogs into a pair of old slippers, down at the heel but still comfy. He is one of America's best comedic storytellers, more chuckle than guffaw kind of humor. Somebody's Fool is the third in the North Bath Trilogy (Nobody's Fool and Everybody's Fool are 1 and 2), and it is a masterclass in depicting the relationship intricacies and complications that come with living in a small town for a long time. Patriarch Sully (played by Paul Newman in the '94 film of Nobody's Fool) is no longer, but his cranky spirit lives on in his son and friends and their lovers, who get into all kinds of tricky situations. This is a book with a lot of heart that's not sentimental. Perfect for summer. -Carin
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Empire Falls returns to North Bath, in upstate New York, and to the characters that captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of readers in his beloved best sellers Nobody’s Fool and Everybody’s Fool.
“Sumptuous, spirited . . . [Russo] paints a shining fresco of a working-class community...” —The New York Times • "Another instant classic, filled with Russo's witty dialogue and warm understanding of human foibles." —People Magazine
Ten years after the death of the magnetic Donald “Sully” Sullivan, the town of North Bath is going through a major transition as it is annexed by its much wealthier neighbor, Schuyler Springs. Peter, Sully’s son, is still grappling with his father’s tremendous legacy as well as his relationship to his own son, Thomas, wondering if he has been all that different a father than Sully was to him.
Meanwhile, the towns’ newly consolidated police department falls into the hands of Charice Bond, after the resignation of Doug Raymer, the former North Bath police chief and Charice’s ex-lover. When a decomposing body turns up in the abandoned hotel situated between the two towns, Charice and Raymer are drawn together again and forced to address their complicated attraction to one another. Across town, Ruth, Sully’s married ex-lover, and her daughter Janey struggle to understand Janey’s daughter, Tina, and her growing obsession with Peter’s other son, Will. Amidst the turmoil, the town’s residents speculate on the identity of the unidentified body, and wonder who among their number could have disappeared unnoticed.
Infused with all the wry humor and shrewd observations that Russo is known for, Somebody's Fool is another classic from a modern master.
About the Author
RICHARD RUSSO is the author of nine novels, most recently Chances Are..., Everybody’s Fool and That Old Cape Magic; two collections of stories; and the memoir Elsewhere. In 2002 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls, which, like Nobody’s Fool, won multiple awards for its screen adaptation, and in 2023 his novel Straight Man was adapted into the television series Lucky Hank. In 2017, he received France’s Grand Prix de Littérature Américaine. He lives in Portland, Maine.
“Sumptuous, spirited . . . Regarding North Bath, Richard Russo saved his best for last . . . [Russo] paints a shining fresco of a working-class community, warts and all, a 30-year project come to fruition in this last, best book.” —The New York Times
"Another instant classic, filled with Russo's witty dialogue and warm understanding of human foibles." —People Magazine
“The ‘Fool’ books nail that small town vibe, where everybody thinks they know everybody’s else’s business, and more importantly, cares about what happens to their neighbors . . . Fans of the previous two novels will enjoy reconnecting with familiar characters, from Ruth and her daughter Janay and granddaughter Tina, to Doug Raymer, no longer North Bath’s police chief and he-hopes-still-his-girlfriend Charice.” –The Associated Press
“Russo’s latest book has an engaging plot that sensitively and insightfully explores themes of grief and reconciliation . . . the relationships between the characters give this story an emotional depth that has an undeniable appeal.” —Library Journal
“A wise and witty drama of small-town life . . . delivering the generous humor, keen ear for dialogue, and deep appreciation for humanity’s foibles that have endeared the author to his readers for decades. Though Sully is gone, his world is alive and well.” –Publishers Weekly
“Russo’s version of the good old-fashioned comic novel is the gold standard, full of heart and dexterous storytelling.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Russo’s beguiling art is the mastery of cloaking complex human emotions and conflicts in surprisingly simple guises, and he brings depths of pathos and wisdom to this Everyman microcosm by challenging its citizens in unlikely ways, only to have them emerge whole and even heroic. There have never been fools in Russo’s world, just lovely, relatable people navigating foolish situations.” —Booklist (starred review)
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