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Mohawk-Reissue

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  3,302 ratings  ·  188 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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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Harry who runs the 'Mohawk Grill' restaurant has a calender which is out of date by a year.This is because "...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
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
Julie Suzanne
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
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
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
Ryan
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
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
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
Richard Thurman
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
Daan
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...more
Amy
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
Felicity
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
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
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
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
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
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
Peggy
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
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
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
Cojaysea
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
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.

Kendall
A study of small town life- one built around an industry that is dead or dying. In the case of Mohawk- the industry is leather. Similar to Empire Falls- except Empire Falls is a more mature and grown up version of Mohawk. If you read Empire Falls and Mohawk one after the other- in either order- you can see how the Russo has matured as a writer. Ok. I read something similar to that last statement somewhere- but it's true. I'd also read somewhere that- Amazon.com I believe- that the story or plot ...more
Jason
an extremely tragic novel...
it was very good, but also very difficult to get through...russo's later work has deep tragic elements, but he tempers the adversity and misfortune with charm and wit...those features aren't so much at play in this book...
it is a good first novel, and all the aspects of russo's work that makes him great are here in a sort of embryonic form, but the story never really seems to coalesce or find its narrative focus...
russo really shines when he revolves his narrative aro
...more
Elizabeth Quinn
Richard Russo's first novel is set in a dying mill town of upstate New York, a setting which he has returned to several times since, and is peopled by the kind of small-town folks who urban sophisticates suspect should be dull but are, in his expert hands, as vivid and interesting characters as can be found anywhere in fiction. Here he focuses on two cousins -- Anne Younger and Diane Wood -- who are caught between aging parents, needy husbands and ex-husbands and, in Anna's case, a growing son. ...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
Susan
This is the third Russo book I read and I liked it the best. Empire Falls has similar characters & themes, but these characters seemed more real. Russo is a very dark writer, and seems to find only the flaws in human nature.
Stephanie
I'm just a big fan of Richard Russo. The way he writes his characters and the small towns in which they live is very evocative -- you feel like you know these people, this place. Apparently, this was his first novel. I read it long after reading Empire Falls and enjoyed the comparison and contrast between these two books. I like how Russo makes at least one his main characters basically a total screw-up, but still gets you to empathize with him (usually a him). A quick read on the surface -- but ...more
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Mohawk 1 3 Nov 01, 2014 08:20AM  
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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.

More about Richard Russo...
Empire Falls Straight Man Bridge of Sighs Nobody's Fool That Old Cape Magic

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“People sometimes get in the habit of being loyal to a mistake.” 18 likes
“Knowing and knowing what to do about it were two different things.” 8 likes
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