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Welcome to Empire Falls, a blue-collar town full of abandoned mills whose citizens surround themselves with the comforts and feuds provided by lifelong friends and neighbors and who find humor and hope in the most unlikely places, in this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Richard Russo. Miles Roby has been slinging burgers at the Empire Grill for 20 years, a job that cost him his college education and much of his self-respect. What keeps him there? It could be his bright, sensitive daughter Tick, who needs all his help surviving the local high school. Or maybe it's Janine, Miles' soon-to-be ex-wife, who's taken up with a noxiously vain health-club proprietor. Or perhaps it's the imperious Francine Whiting, who owns everything in town-and seems to believe that "everything" includes Miles himself. In Empire Falls Richard Russo delves deep into the blue-collar heart of America in a work that overflows with hilarity, heartache, and grace. Empire Falls was also adapted into an HBO mini-series, starring Paul Newman, Ed Harris, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Helen Hunt.
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About the Author

Richard Russo is the author of eight novels; two collections of stories; and Elsewhere, a memoir. In 2002 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls, which like Nobody's Fool was adapted to film, in a multiple-award-winning HBO miniseries.

Reviews

In the small Maine town of Empire Falls, replete with long defunct logging and textile mills, the Whiting clan embarks on its inexorable demise. The family has owned the town and controlled its environment, economy and inhabitants for generations. Why and how they bring about their own demise unfolds slowly, character by character, incident by incident, year by year. Listeners move as if by free association back and forth in time, layering the lives of Whitings and Robys, and learning about the families' complex interweaving that shapes all of their members. The book begins slowly, but readers are drawn ever deeper into the social saga and closer to the characters' strengths and weaknesses. Protagonist Miles Roby, forced by his mother's early death to abandon his college career, returns home to manage the Whiting family's Empire Grill, and meanwhile deals with divorce, devotion and devastation. McLarty sports a fine reading voice and makes excellent narrative choices. He has only a few special voices (e.g., Miles's profligate father), but it's always clear who is speaking. Free of emphatic attempts at characterization or dramatization, his subtle, unobtrusive narration allows Russo's terrific story to shine. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Forecasts, Apr. 9). (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

People don't mind imposing on a nice guy like Miles Roby. Francine Whiting, for instance, owns most of the struggling mill town, including the Empire Grill that Miles manages for her, though she won't agree to the liquor license that might make it profitable. Francine's disabled daughter, Cindy, has a lifelong crush on Miles and has twice attempted suicide over him. His wife has left him for a flashy jerk, a health club owner who comes to the grill daily to taunt Miles; his ne'er-do-well father constantly nags him for handouts; and his daughter Tick seems to care about Miles, but she is navigating the treacherous shoals of high school, with the school bully determined to win her back and a complete outcast dependent on her for friendship. Reader Ron McLarty doesn't get the Maine accent quite right, but his performance will surely prove among the best of the year. Packed with heart and with wonderfully drawn characters (and a good deal funnier than it sounds), Empire Falls is an excellent choice for any library. John Hiett, Iowa City P.L. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

-Rich, humorous, elegantly constructed . . . Easily Mr. Russo's most seductive book thus far.--The New York Times -Russo writes with a warm, vibrant humanity.... A stirring mix of poignancy, drama and comedy.- --The Washington Post -Russo is one of the best novelists around.- -The New York Times Book Review -The history of American literature may show that Richard Russo wrote the last great novel of the 20th century.- -Christian Science Monitor -Nobody does small-town life better than Richard Russo.- -Atlanta Journal-Constitution "Rich, humorous, elegantly constructed . . . Easily Mr. Russo's most seductive book thus far."-The New York Times "Russo writes with a warm, vibrant humanity.... A stirring mix of poignancy, drama and comedy." --The Washington Post "Russo is one of the best novelists around." -The New York Times Book Review "The history of American literature may show that Richard Russo wrote the last great novel of the 20th century." -Christian Science Monitor "Nobody does small-town life better than Richard Russo." -Atlanta Journal-Constitution Rich, humorous, elegantly constructed . . . Easily Mr. Russo s most seductive book thus far. The New York Times Russo writes with a warm, vibrant humanity.... A stirring mix of poignancy, drama and comedy. The Washington Post Russo is one of the best novelists around. The New York Times Book Review The history of American literature may show that Richard Russo wrote the last great novel of the 20th century. Christian Science Monitor Nobody does small-town life better than Richard Russo. Atlanta Journal-Constitution" " Rich, humorous, elegantly constructed . . . Easily Mr. Russo's most seductive book thus far." - "The New York Times" " Russo writes with a warm, vibrant humanity.... A stirring mix of poignancy, drama and comedy." "-- The Washington Post" " Russo is one of the best novelists around." - "The New York Times Book Review" " The history of American literature may show that Richard Russo wrote the last great novel of the 20th century." - "Christian Science Monitor" " Nobody does small-town life better than Richard Russo." "- Atlanta Journal-Constitution"

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