The Whore's Child: Stories
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The Whore's Child: Stories

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  2,143 ratings  ·  206 reviews
To this irresistible debut collection of short stories, Richard Russo brings the same bittersweet wit, deep knowledge of human nature, and spellbinding narrative gifts that distinguish his best-selling novels. His themes are the imperfect bargains of marriage; the discoveries and disillusionments of childhood;the unwinnable battles men and women insist on fighting with the...more
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Published October 11th 2011 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2002)
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Brendan
Richard Russo, once a teacher of writing himself, opens his debut collection of short stories, The Whore’s Child, in familiar territory: the classroom. Sister Ursula, who is “nearly as big as a linebacker,” deposits herself in the narrator’s advanced writing workshop, uninvited and unregistered. Despite the professor’s insistence that she write fiction -- “In this class we actually prefer a well-told lie,” he tells her -- she submits for the class’s consideration several hefty installments of ro...more
Ariel
Jan 04, 2009 Ariel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle age male professors
Wham Bam, another book read in two days. I must say this reading pace is quite satisfying. The book, eh. The first (title story) and last story were both unique and engaging. In between those the stories all seemed to be about middle aged professors and islands. Most of these men don't relate to the women they are with and almost all of them have some scene that involves the male lead character being shocked or worried about their female companion taking off their clothes in public. This was an...more
Bette BookAddict
Oct 16, 2013 Bette BookAddict rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bette BookAddict by: me: I love Richard Russo's work
Although I generally do not like short stories (simply for their brevity), being a Russo book I had to buy it. And I was not disappointed. Russo writes with his wonderful insight into both men and women, fashioning stories set in provincial towns. A nun in a writer's workshop, a retired professor and his wife on holiday, a boy of recently separated parents, a small town pianist with a mother who is a prostitute, two men whose boyhood friendship is really the only thing connecting them in the pre...more
Chip
I don't find books - books find me. This book, in fact, is a prime example of the process. I was in BooksAMillion looking through the used library books ($3 each) and saw the name Richard Russo, who I thought (accurately) had won a Pulitzer, so I purchased the book, even though the title had stickers covering it. It was only later, halfway into the book, that I glanced at the spine and realized the title "The Whore's Child" seems designed to titillate... a kind of marketing oversell which, had I...more
Catherine
I started to read this book and thought, why does anyone write short stories? why not write a whole novel? Isn't this copping out? And then, in the penultimate story of the book, a character chastises another - isn't writing short stories just cowardice? Isn't it copping out?

I laughed, and enjoyed the dialogue, and realized how utterly playful these short stories were, not only because they played with me.

Russo's a wonderful wordsmith, and he captures characters and places with what appears to b...more
Andy Miller
A consistently good collection of short stories by Richard Russo. It is easy to understand why "The Whore's Child" was chosen as the title story. A nun from a dwindling order that has been moved to an old home shows up at a university's writing class. The nun writes of her early life as if it was fiction, the professor understands it is memoir but not her fellow students who critique the story as it is written and read out loud on different days in class. The story is bleak, a prostitute's baby(...more
Estelle
I enjoyed this book more than "Straight Man". I especially liked the short story about the dad with the silver washer. He must have been quite a character to pull a stunt like that with his customers. I wonder if he tried this while courting his wife. Even people with a great sense of humor might quickly tire of it though. I imagine after awhile his wife might think he's making a fool of himself an label him an "asshole". It seems as if there's a bit of boasting that "after all this time he can...more
Marie Chow
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeff Swystun
I love Richard Russo's work and believe in the power of short stories. Russo's novels work because he writes a long game. Stephen King describes him as an American Dickens, he weaves characters and plot over lovingly protracted tales. The man needs a big canvass. This is not to say his short fiction work is poor. By any yardstick, these stories work though they tend to be cliche. Can one's writing be strong, yet stories weak?

The solid ones include “Buoyancy”, that features a retired academic who...more
Jeanette
Richard Russo's strength is definitely in his novels, not short stories. That's not to say I didn't enjoy this book. He just needs that time and space to develop his rich plots and characters in the way we've come to love.

I think the first two stories are the best in this book: "The Whore's Child" and "Monhegan Light." "Monhegan Light" was definitely my favorite. "Joy Ride" is really quite good also.
Terri
Dependable as always, Russo once again manages to draw the reader into each character's life, and leave one wanting more. Of the five short stories of the collection, the first (The Whore's Child-about a nun telling her life story) and the last (The Mysteries of Linwood Hart-a young boy trying to figure out his place in the world) resonated with me the most. I felt either one could easily have been expanded beyond the short story format.

Reading through other reviews, it seems that people either...more
Daniel Jr.
It would be tough to ask much more from a collection of short stories. My only "frustration" was that the better stories weren't actually the beginnings to novels. I just connect with Russo's work so well. Now I'm re-reading THE RISK POOL.
Lynn
reading now...short stories...great writer!
Darrin
I always find it difficult to say something intelligent about a Pulitzer Prize winning author that hasn't already been said. Regardless, I am happy I picked up another book by Richard Russo after reading Empire Falls. It has been on my mind to do so and I drifted off to that section of the library a little more than a week ago and picked this book of short stories off the shelf.

All were very good but the stories that stand out most in my mind are "Joy Ride", "Buoyancy" and the "Mysteries of Linw...more
Aileen Ng
It started pretty interesting with the first story titled "The Whore's Child". About a nun who was cast aside due to her parentage.
"Monhegan Light" is pretty alright with regards to a man who reminisce his dead wife while on a holiday with his current young girlfriend.
"The Farther You Go" has a kind of weird story connection between father and daughter. This story tells from the father's view.
"Joyride" is about a mother who is in denial in her marriage and takes her son for a joyride. Thinking...more
Laura
Jul 29, 2009 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Richard Russo fans. Nothing spectacular or nearly as funny as his other work, though.
Recommended to Laura by: Barnes & Noble.
Filled with short stories--some with great potential to grow up and become novels, others are fine with simply never growing up.
"The Whore's Child" was a great start--highlighting the naivety of the elderly nun was somewhat revealing to me--about my own naivety, that is.
"This is a storytelling class, Sister. We're all liars here. the whole purpose of our enterprise is to become skilled in making things up, of substituting our own truth for the truth. In this class, we actually prefer a well-to...more
Kathleen
At this point in my life, Russo is my favorite author. I say this because I think he probably appeals to me as a middle-aged person, more than he would have as my younger self. This collection of stories mines some of the same ground trod in other Russo novels, but as usual does it movingly.


Russo is a very masculine writer in that he writes most convincingly and sympathetically about men, sometimes it seems to the point of slight misogyny, but that thought is overwhelmed by my interest in the...more
Mary
I read and loved Empire Falls and recently read a short story collection edited by Richard Russo, so I was interested to read his short fiction. There are five stories in this collection and they are all well-written, subtle with complex characters. I especially enjoyed the two stories told from the perspective of adolescent boys (Joyride and The Mysteries of Linwood Hart) for their insight into the adult world and Russo's sense of humor when portraying flawed parents. The other stories were tol...more
Moira Burke
"Entertaining short stories in Russo's dependable prose. The first two stories are the best of the set. While the writing lacks the continuous stylistic punch of, say, Foer, Russo has his good moments:
\Sister Ursula belonged to an all but extinct order of Belgian nuns who conducted what little spiritual business remained to them in a decrepit old house purchased by the diocese seemingly because it was unlikely to outlast them.\""
\""Of all the things that Joyce's sort of woman said about men, Mar
...more
Lorraine
What’s not to like about Richard Russo? If you’ve read anything of his, you have to appreciate what he is capable of accomplishing without any apparent effort. His characters are real people who have to confront issues in their lives and go on living. They are middle-class average Americans. They have to deal with marriage, death, adultery, childhood memories, old age, and homes that offer them little solace. Sometimes his themes are a bit bleak, but it’s easy to get over. He is probably more re...more
Emily
Russo's collection of short stories began with something akin to a bad first impression. I wrote my many outbursts in the margin like, "Did he really write this??" because I was shocked that the same writer who wrote EMPIRE FALLS wrote sentences like," The woman in question had closed her eyes and reclined her head over the back of the seat so that her smooth throat was exposed to the weakening September sun." Which to me, though I LOVE description, seems way too much of nothing. There were part...more
Anne
In his first collection, a master storyteller focuses on a fresh and fascinating range of human behavior. With a fluency of tone that will surprise even his devoted readers, Russo captures both bewildering horror and heartrending tenderness with an absorbing, compassionate authority.

The last book I had left to read in Russo's catalogue and, predictably, I was not disappointed. His short stories are as poetic and compelling as his full-length novels, easily jumping in and out of the protagonist's...more
Julie Suzanne
4.5 These short stories will stand out in my experiences equally and caused me to contemplate the complex motivations, reactions, consequences, and feelings behind and within the simplest of human experiences.

Russo excels at creating characters who are so real that later you find yourself saying, "I know this guy once who....." and you realize, "No I didn't--that was a character in a book!"

This reading experience even had a perfect ending. I intended to finish it on the airplane so that I coul...more
Erica
Jul 24, 2007 Erica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like Richard Russo
Shelves: summer2007
I've read Empire Falls (although I couldn't sit through the 8 hour miniseries) so I thought I would try reading some of Richard Russo's short stories. Again, I read this book in two days.

The Whore's Child - really really liked this story about a nun who enrolls in a college fiction writing class.

Monhegan Light - egh, it was good but not great. This is a story about a widower who goes on vacation with his new girlfriend, only to meet with the man who his dead wife was having an affair with.

The Fa...more
Cas
I'm not generally a fan of short stories and only read these because they are by one of my favourite writers. I did enjoy them, though not as much as I enjoy full length novels - not that that is Russo's fault. They were entertaining tales but none made a great impact. Can't fault the writing, but generally lacking the quiet punch and sense of satisfaction ( and admiration) that Russo's work usually imparts.
Nancy Pemberton
I have to admit that, listening to NPR's Radio Reading of Empire Falls, I early on decided that I was not a Russo fan. But some very smart writers that I know insisted that he was epic. I decided to try The Whore' Child simply because it was short stories and could easily be put down. Was utterly blown away and proceeded to read every novel he had written, Love this book, this man.
Gina Whitlock
I usually don't care much for short stories feeling you put too much effort into reading them with less return. But Russo is not just any writer. I can't think of anything by Russo that I wouldn't like. These stories would make wonderful beginnings to novels yet are enjoyable as they are written. Each character is fully developed.
Kendall
Discovered this book while browsing the new titles at Borders. Pleasantly surprised to find a new one by Russo. As usual- the writing is smooth cream. It takes no effort to get through any of these stories- and for the most part- I felt they where all coherent with solid (not vague) endings. I can't stand when stories end and they haven't taught me anything or resolved some issues with the characters or the story in general. Most of the stories riff on his earlier books. There's one story (The F...more
Melissa
I've always loved Russo's style of writing. He has a way of describing people so intimately that you can see them there in front of you, flaws and all. This is my first taste of his short stories and they are exceptionally good. The title story, The Whore's Child, is about a nun's foray into a writing workshop and her attempt at a memoir. It was simple and did exactly what a great short story should do, give you a glimpse at a few characters and leave you wishing you knew just a bit more about t...more
Clare
A beautiful collection of short stories that exemplify the wonderfully rich yet matter-of-fact voice of Russo. I'm not usually a fan of short stories, but am a Russo fan and this collection convinced me I need to read more. Thank you to Nancy Pemberton for insisting this was his best book!
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Richard Russo (born July 15, 1949) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist. Born in Johnstown, New York, and raised in nearby Gloversville, he earned a B.A. (1967), a M.F.A. (1980), and a Ph.D. (1979) from the University of Arizona.

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