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The Whore's Child And Other Stories

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3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,647 Ratings  ·  242 Reviews
In The Whore's Child, Richard Russo's first collection of short fiction, the 2002 Pulitzer Prize-wining author of Empire Falls explores difficult emotional territory while retaining the assured wisdom and humor of his best work. Infidelity, self-reflection, and the fallibility of memory come into consideration in this entertaining and perceptive collection. The book's titu ...more
Paperback, 225 pages
Published 2002 by Chatto & Windus
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Brendan
Jul 01, 2007 Brendan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This is an enjoyable collection of stories. I admit I didn't especially care for the title story, which comes first, and made me wonder how the rest of it would go. It involves a bitter, mean-spirited old nun who made me happy I'd never been Catholic. In Monhegan Light is a California couple who visits an island in Maine, where the man's now-deceased wife has summered for years. The Farther You go seems to have been taken from (or was the inspiration for?) his novel Straight Man, and perhaps my ...more
Chip
Aug 16, 2009 Chip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ariel
Jan 04, 2009 Ariel rated it liked it  ·  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
B the BookAddict
Oct 16, 2013 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to B the 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
Catherine
Jan 30, 2009 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
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
Wendy
Oct 12, 2014 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually read short story collections but I've enjoyed his other books so much, I gave it a go and , ...more
Andy Miller
Jul 11, 2014 Andy Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 15, 2014 Estelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  "Astute Crabbist"
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.
Ryan
Jul 24, 2014 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As with everything of his I have read, I really enjoyed this book, and I appreciated getting to read Russo in a different form, as this is a book of short stories. Each of these short stories has some classic Russo trope attached to it. The dying mill town that poisoned its own citizens makes an appearance, the insecure, aging man with health problems, the couple with marital strife, the college professor, it's all there.
The only thing I will say that I missed, and that has me longing to read on
...more
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.
Sep 26, 2012 Daniel Jr. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Karen
Apr 16, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love it! Except for the last story. Not sure why!
Jim
Jul 25, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In something of a departure from his usual set, Richard Russo has collected an entertaining group of his short stories featuring main characters such as a nun, a small boy on a road trip with his mother, and a man going to meet the long time lover of his late wife. These people are all on journeys that will make them see their lives differently. All well written as one would expect from Russo.

The final story fits more in the mold of Russo tales including all the recognizable characters from smal
...more
Lynn
reading now...short stories...great writer!
Darrin
Jul 05, 2014 Darrin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 11, 2012 Aileen Ng rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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 liked it  ·  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
Nov 15, 2012 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 26, 2013 Lorraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 01, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 23, 2014 Julie Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 really liked it  ·  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
Feb 15, 2014 Cas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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RICHARD RUSSO is the author of seven previous 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.
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“I was the one who did come through that door. You were the one she was waiting for.” 8 likes
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