Straight Man: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)
Hilarious and true-to-life, witty, compassionate, and impossible to put down, Straight Man follows Hank Devereaux through one very bad week in this novel from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo.
William Henry Devereaux, Jr., is the reluctant chairman of the English department of a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt. Devereaux's reluctance is partly rooted in his character--he is a born anarchist--and partly in the fact that his department is more savagely divided than the Balkans.
In the course of a single week, Devereaux will have his nose mangled by an angry colleague, imagine his wife is having an affair with his dean, wonder if a curvaceous adjunct is trying to seduce him with peach pits, and threaten to execute a goose on local television. All this while coming to terms with his philandering father, the dereliction of his youthful promise, and the ominous failure of certain vital body functions. In short, Straight Man is classic Russo—side-splitting, poignant, compassionate, and unforgettable.
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.
"The funniest serious novel I have read since--well, maybe since Portnoy's Complaint." -- Tom De Haven, The New York Times Book Review
"There is a big, wry heart beating at the center of Russo's fiction." --The New Yorker
"[Russo] skewers academic pretensions and infighting with mad abandon...in a clear and muscular prose that is a pleasaure to read....I had to stop often to guffaw, gasp, wheeze, and wipe away my tears." -- Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times
"Bursting with humor and insight." --USA Today
Abandoned and left on a desolate lawless island by her powerful sea trader father we meet teen Fable as a struggling dredger who survives cut throat life lessons by her wits and hard won mistakes. She boldly gets off the island by way of an enigmatic trading partner who has a mysterious and dangerous past. With the help of a motley crew with trust issues and enemies galore, Fable gains a family willing to take murderous risks, all the while not sure of her own raw emotions. This taut, magnetic and nail-biting adventure tale of swashbucklers on the dangerous seas will leave you breathless and anxiously awaiting the second book in the duology. - reviewed by Maureen