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3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  4,067 Ratings  ·  226 Reviews
The town of Mohawk may be provincial but it's far from sleepy. Its inhabitants seem perpetually awake, and not only on Saturday at two in the morning, "when the bars are closing and people are forced to consider the prospect of returning home with so many of the night's dreams unfulfilled." Richard Russo focuses on several characters who are leading lives of extreme--and e ...more
Published January 1st 1986 by Vintage Books USA
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Glenn Russell
Apr 10, 2016 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Richard Russo, born in 1949, from upstate New York, is one of American's foremost living novelists. After Mohawk, his first novel, Russo went on to author seven other novels, including The Risk Pool, Empire Falls, Nobody's Fool and Straight Man.

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 fr
May 11, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my 6th Richard Russo novel and I can honestly say I've enjoyed every one of them. I become totally immersed in his depictions of small town life with his dysfunctional characters that are totally relatable. Nobody's Fool remains my favorite but this was still a good read.
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
B the BookAddict
Dec 09, 2013 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
I'm working my way through Richard Russo's novels. In Mohawk, he never ceases to amaze me with the depth, the humor and the honesty of his work. 4 ...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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Feb 09, 2013 Daan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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
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
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
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
Jun 01, 2016 Connie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book by Richard Russo that I have read. This is apparently his first book. I'm glad that I read The Risk Pool first because if I had read Mohawk first, I may not have read The Risk Pool.
Mohawk is well written and it introduces characters which appear in The Risk Pool. This story though is not nearly as engaging or smoothly executed as The Risk Pool. I have several other books by Mr. Russo in my to read stack(s); which I do look forward to reading, but this one was not a favori
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
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.
Oct 19, 2016 Dennis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy Russo's writing, which can be sad and melancholic and also witty and funny at the same time. This one was his first, and it shows a bit. It's not quite as polished or as intricately written as his later books, but is a good read nonetheless. You can definitely see precursors to future books here, particularly in the character of Dallas Younger, who is an early draft of Max Roby and Sully Sullivan and especially Sam Hall.
Sep 17, 2016 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A real work of literature a wonderful story with characters of complexity and a bizarre storyline that drags you into the story willingly. There is life lessons, sorrow and love, tragedy and hope and generous humor. I have previously found Mr. Russo to be an excellent storyteller and a great author. This book does not disappoint, it is fine literature and superb writing.
Anna Lemaster
It's interesting to read Russo's later books first then go back to read his first books. One can see how his style and prose developed over time.
Sep 19, 2016 Lehtomaki rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: toread-2016
Crystal Hunter
Typically depressing Russo, with forgettable and/or unlikeable characters.
Aug 30, 2016 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1988
I have absolutely no recollection of this book at all.
Aug 16, 2016 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Russo's first novel, where he explores his themes of quiet desperation in small town upstate NY. He develops those characters/ideas better later ("Nobody's Fool") If you haven't read him, I would not recommend starting with this one, but if you like his books, you'll probably like this, too.
Aug 03, 2016 Corey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up because I was going on vacation with my family in upstate New York and wanted something locale appropriate. I also LOVED Empire Falls and have been wanting to read another by Richard Russo. Overall, this was not nearly as good as Empire Falls because the plot was much slower and the story much more depressing. When you think of small town novels, you kind of expect them to include a whole cast of bitter and unfulfilled small town characters (Olive Kitteridge comes to mind). Unfo ...more
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
Stephan Benzkofer
Aug 30, 2016 Stephan Benzkofer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I wonder why I don't read Richard Russo all day, every day. He makes it look so easy, the sense of place, the flawed, human characters, the driving plot where in many ways nothing happens yet you keep turning the pages. If you like small-town novels, read this immediately. If you don't like small-town novels, read this to see what you're missing.
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Mohawk 1 5 Nov 01, 2014 08:20AM  
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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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“People sometimes get in the habit of being loyal to a mistake.” 28 likes
“Knowing and knowing what to do about it were two different things.” 7 likes
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