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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
Once upon a time there was a storyteller, whose stories existed in the land of many lakes – that boundless region called Minnesota, where hardy souls have made their living on the water, fertile land and in cities. This storyteller, William Kent Krueger, weaves his stories with characters so rich, so real and so human, the tale leaps off the page and buries deep into your soul. “This Tender Land” is simply a magnificent example of Krueger’s extraordinary gift as a writer. You will find it hard to put down, or even after finishing, hard to stop thinking of Odie, Albert, Mose and Emmy – your guides down the winding rivers in this book. Truly, a masterpiece. - review by Maureen