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Mohawk

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,767 Ratings  ·  206 Reviews
Mohawk, New York, is one of those small towns that lie almost entirely on the wrong side of the tracks. Its citizens, too, have fallen on hard times. Dallas Younger, a star athlete in high school, now drifts from tavern to poker game, losing money, and, inevitably, another set of false teeth. His ex-wife, Anne, is stuck in a losing battle with her mother over the care of h ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published August 12th 1986 by Vintage (first published 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Glenn Russell
Jan 13, 2016 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Compelling portrait of small town USA, Richard Russo's small town is located in the state of New York during the year 1970 and features the interlinking lives of seven main characters, men and women, young and old, but in many ways the year could range from 1915 to 2015 and the locale could be any of the 50 states since there is an undeniable sameness about what it means to grow up, live and, if you do not leave, die in a small town. Here are snapshots from the novel, snapshots easily recognized
...more
Ryan
Jul 24, 2013 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy reading the debut novels of authors whose later works I really enjoy, and this one was no different. In terms of enjoyability, it's nowhere near the level of pure brilliance of Empire Falls, the comedy of Straight Man or the eerie drama of Bridge of Sighs, but when you've read as much Russo as I have (this is my 6th novel of his), it's interesting to see where some of these other works come from. Some of those standard Russo trademarks are there, the dying industrial town, the loc ...more
Ryan Lawson
This was Russo's first book and it shows. Richard Russo is one of the best authors that I have run across in my short stint of a life. His narrative has a high-caliber voice that seeks the nostalgia within the reader and steadily draws it out. He's got a knack for craft that most contemporary authors are lacking. His stories offer a steady structure and a very unique as well as entertaining balancing act of numerous characters.

With that said, I think Mohawk is the weakest of the novels. There ar
...more
Ryan
Sep 15, 2012 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am completely blown away by how much I loved this book, and I love all of his books! My favorites are his new ones – Straight Man, Empire Falls, Bridge of Sighs – and I have found that I move backwards though his works it is easy to see his themes developing from the beginning, but I didn’t think the stories were as masterfully woven. I thought Nobody’s Fool and Risk Pool were good, stuffed full of Russo’s worldview, but they were trying too hard to be funny, or quirky, or something… both buil ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I want to give this 5 stars because I enjoyed reading it that much. However, it seemed to be missing that something extra I want a 5-star book to have. Russo reflects on his characters, even when his characters are not especially introspective. I like that. The plot was a bit forced though, or convenient perhaps - probably because this was Russo's debut. He had a very strong theme in the early going and seemed to lose the strength of it about three-quarters through. It's hard to fault him for th ...more
Carol
Aug 07, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This very readable first novel is a great place for the Russo novice to start. If you've already read Russo's later novels, "Mohawk" may seem to be a "pilot" episode. Russo is a chronicler of the darker side of America, especially the towns that once were full of people who were able to make a living. In a go-go era of skyrocketing real estate and money everywhere, the wealth in this country is not equally distributed and those towns you pass by on the highways all have stories of their own. Rus ...more
WordsBeyondBorders
Harry who runs the 'Mohawk Grill' restaurant has a calender which is out of date by a year.This is because "... whoever gave the calendar the year before didn't give him a new one this year. The months are the same and Harry doesn't mind being a few days off". This in a nutshell symbolizes the characters in Richard Russo's debut novel 'Mohawk', a slice of small town America. In fact this mentality is symptomatic of many characters in Russo's works, a mindset where people are just waiting for som ...more
Julie Suzanne
Dec 15, 2008 Julie Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: escape-fiction
Straight Man is one of my favorite novels of all time, so when I saw that Russo had also written a novel set in a small town in central New York, I had to buy it immediately. I've finally maneuvered free-time for reading into my schedule---what a pleasure it was! Seeing that I live right next to "Mohawk, New York," the town in which the novel is set, I felt even more connected to the characters as names of all of the surrounding areas of my life kept coming up (Even though there isn't a Mohawk C ...more
Richard Thurman
Mar 31, 2013 Richard Thurman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love with the works of Richard Russo when I read his Pulitzer Prize winning "Empire Falls". Since then, I've read most of what he has written; and to varying degrees loved it all. My favorites, in addition to Empire, are "Nobody's Fool", and a book I recently read called "Mohawk". Mohawk is the first book Russo ever wrote. If you know Russo at all, you know that his books read like a bluesy Bruce Springsteen song. They tend to be about a small blue collar town where the town's main emp ...more
Sheri
So this is my third or fourth Russo and not my favorite. It did not surprise me to discover that it is his first novel, as some pieces were too overt and convenient for my liking.

This novel again deals with the politics and relationships in a small northeastern town (this time in New York). There are similarities to Empire Falls (father/daughter relationships, central diner characters) as well as to Nobody's Fool (I had a hard time thinking of Dallas as distinct from Sully). Instead of find this
...more
Daan
Feb 09, 2013 Daan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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...more
Amy
Aug 31, 2012 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Part 1: 4.5 stars
Part 2: 1.5 stars

I've read all but one of Russo's novels (still need to read Nobody's Fool), and this is my 2nd least favorite. When I started it, I actually thought, "Wait a second, have I read this already?" because it is so similar in feel to The Risk Pool and Empire Falls. But not as good. This cast of characters is way too big, and the second half is way too plot-driven. I fell in love with a few really well-developed characters in the first half (Dallas, Anne and Harry), a
...more
Christine Ward
For whatever reason, during this particular re-read, "Mohawk" struck me as being particularly grim and depressing. There's a glimmer of positivity and hope at the end of the book, but by and large, all the characters have lived wasted lives, either by their own doing or tragic circumstances, and the aforementioned glimmer of hope at the end wasn't enough to offset the grimness.

Of course, not all books have to be balanced in such a manner - some of the best books are relentlessly depressing - bu
...more
Felicity
Oct 21, 2010 Felicity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is now the third time I've read this book...a privilege I have never afforded to any author. But this is Richard Russo, and Mohawk is comforting...a place to which you can retreat when you need familiar terrain. I first read the book in 2004, then again in 2007, and now again. This time around, I've noticed that it's clearly the earliest of Russo's books...his writing style is nowhere near as elegant or well-developed as his later novels. But Mohawk is, nonetheless, comforting...Russo has t ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is one of Russo's earlier novels. It's a little slow moving and less interesting than more recent works. I know I did enjoy it, though I can't recall too much of the plot now. I read it after reading Empire Falls, and as I recall, the two books had a lot of similarity as far as place and plot and character interaction.

Russo's always got some good words of wisdom tucked into his novels. Here's a tidbit I copied from Mohawk:

"Attempts to make life do what it has resisted doing in the past ar
...more
Rajesh Kurup
Nov 25, 2012 Rajesh Kurup rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my third Russo book and probably my favorite. He really has a gift for giving voice to working class, small town America. Mohawk is set in Mohawk, New York a dying industrial town during the late 1960s. The story follows several characters over the course of 5 years as they struggle with the emptiness of their lives and the ensuing quiet desperation. Towards the end, several do break out of Mohawk either by dying or simply escaping.

Russo has such an easygoing writing style that his book
...more
Marilyn Saul
I was very disappointed. I had previously read Bridge of Sighs and The Whore's Child (and other stories) and very much like Mr. Russo's writing style. If I had read Mohawk first, I would never had pursued reading more of his works. Mohawk was a disjointed book, with only a few well-defined characters and then a horde of other characters who would pop up at random and leave one scratching one's head: now who the hell is John? Now she's married to whom? and, wait, I didn't know she had a daughter ...more
Monica
Mar 31, 2009 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Russo's first book, but I read it after Straight Man. It's small town life in the North East, filled with characters dealing with a world that's changing and the loss of promise and potential. Like many of Russo's books, you get a great deal of poignancy and sadness, but you also get people who are just trying to make the best of what they have. I found it strangely uplifting. Oh, and for some reason I found Empire Falls much more depressing, I think because of the school incident.
S Pat
Oct 27, 2014 S Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read most of Richard Russo’s later works, and for some reason after reading them, I’m always drawn to small town life. I’ve always idealized the small New England town. Maybe it’s the idea of knowing everyone. Maybe it is knowing that someone knows your business and perhaps they are on the look out for you. This book, though, did a fair job of dissuading those idealisms. I’m not entirely sure why his first book creates the diametric opposite feeling than his later works created for me

I love
...more
Jim
Mar 13, 2014 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you read Empire Falls and Nobody's Fool, and then read Mohawk without knowing who wrote it, you'd have no trouble realizing that it was Richard Russo. Although the characters are different, they follow the same pattern. Set in a small rural town in New York state there are the diner with an owner who anchors the town, semi crazy old women, slightly goofing and inept policeman, main character who pines for his ex-wife, poker games, horse race betting, daily number betting, etc. etc. And while ...more
Joshua Buhs
May 23, 2015 Joshua Buhs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
This is largely a re-mix of the elements that would later go into the wonderful "Empire Falls." Which isn't a bad thing.

It's upstate New York, small company town on the verge of collapse, and the people in that place who either push against its constraints or make their peace--though such compromises are rarely really peaceful. Russo follows a cast of characters across some five or six years in the mid 1960s to the 1970s, with frequent digressions back into time.

Indeed, one of the more interesti
...more
Lukas Evan
Like Faulkner, Richard Russo found his "postage stamp of native soil" and has been diligently working it for the past three decades. Recalling Dickens, Balzac, and John Irving, Russo specializes in small, depressed towns in upstate New York, many of which were dependent on an industry that has now vanished (paper, leather work). His characters are a bit eccentric, a bit hard luck, but they are survivors and Russo treats them with great sympathy, wit, and subtlety. And it's these qualities that p ...more
Harry
Within a few pages I felt at home again in Russo's world. His writing and his characters are enjoyable and you never quite know what is going to happen. On the other hand at least with this one, it didn't seem to matter much what was happening. Somehow it didn't grab me like Nobody's Fool. I also didn't like the fact that three main characters had similar names - Dan, Dallas, Dave, and I could never keep straight who was married to who or related or what. Maybe if read in only a few sittings it ...more
Gloria
Oct 31, 2015 Gloria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone over 18; fiction set in up-up-up-upstate New York
Shelves: borrowed
This was a book for the 2015 "Super Reader" challenge.

This was a relationship drama, with many different characters and interactions, in two parts. First part ends with the death of the patriarch, second part finished after the death of a cousin. All scenes happen in Mohawk.

While the description says it's "Mohawk, New York", this is not the Mohawk I was looking for. This is set in the Town of Mohawk, village of Fonda and what I needed was village of Mohawk, town of German Flatts. It keeps sayin
...more
Peggy
Jul 03, 2014 Peggy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read most of Russo's work, including his memoir that focuses on his mother (this is dad, I mean a "fictional" father). I picked this up and admit that it got put aside once or twice in order to read a new book from the library that was time sensitive. This is an early work of his and I don't know if I would have stuck it out if I'd tried to read it years ago. But now Russo's own life and his fiction have both become of interest to me. In a way it was a stronger work for me than something li ...more
Mark Chadwick
Jun 18, 2014 Mark Chadwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up on vacation from Amazon as a Kindle ebook. Russo is the author of such books as "Empire Falls" and "Nobody's Fool" both made into either movies or HBO mini-series. Russo is a very talented writer and a lot of his sentence constructions are gems. I found myself re-reading paragraphs just for the pleasure of how well-written they were. This is a literary novel, so generally plot takes a back seat when assessing the relative merits of this type of book. But, I found the plot enjoyabl ...more
eugenia
Feb 16, 2014 eugenia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book, I have loved it since the moment I picked it up.
I remember well when it arrived in the bookstore. It was my first year as a bookseller, and I even remember the smell of it. yes the smell. Fresh ground wood paper, but with a smoother finish than mass market pulp.
I bought it that day and read it that night, I so felt I knew the Mohawk dinner, and the town, I'd been there, lived there. I loved Harry and Lorriane and was happy years later to see them again in other stories. After a
...more
Nancy Doerrer
I'm a huge fan of Richard Russo, but I'm glad I didn't read his debut novel (Mohawk) first. I may not have turned to his other excellent works of fiction like Bridge of Sighs and Empire Falls. Mohawk unfortunately is a bit disjointed. While the dialogue is great - a well developed Russo skill - I had trouble following timelines, people, etc. I had to backtrack multiple times throughout reading the book to fully comprehend the events. That said, Russo is a master at creating authentic characters, ...more
Cojaysea
Mar 21, 2014 Cojaysea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
anything i read by this guy i love..yes sometimes i confuse the characters from MOHAWK with the ones in EMPIRE FALLS …but i know of know one who captures small town life with real people better then richard russo does .when you read a russo novel you go to sleep and wake up wondering how some pf these people are doing today and then remember they're just inventions in a book ..i eagerly await anything he releases as i do with murakami or david mitchell ..
Cas
Sep 21, 2014 Cas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I might have liked this better had it been the first Russo book I read. As it is, Nobody's Fool is, to me, so far up the scale of excellence that anything else is going to come second. This is Russo's first novel and with the wisdom of hindsight, that is obvious. It is almost as though this is the model on which he built and improved. That said, this is still a good enough read.

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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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“People sometimes get in the habit of being loyal to a mistake.” 26 likes
“Knowing and knowing what to do about it were two different things.” 8 likes
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