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Nate in Venice

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  963 ratings  ·  84 reviews
In this warm, bighearted novella, Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo ("Nobody’s Fool," "Straight Man," "Empire Falls") transports his characters from the working-class East Coast of his novels to one of Europe’s most romantic cities. In classic Russo fashion, however, he packs along their foibles and frailties. His latest foray into the messy beauty of the human heart, ...more
Kindle Edition, Kindle Edition, 87 pages
Published January 28th 2013 by Byliner Inc.
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  963 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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John Blumenthal
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The thing I like about Russo is that he’s dependable—I have never disliked any of his books and I’ve read most of them. This was no exception. He’s just a damn good writer.
Susan Tekulve
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful and expertly-crafted novella. As Russo's protagonist, a retired English professor named Nate, winds through the labyrinthian streets of Venice, Italy, he sorts through his tricky relationship with his older brother, Julian. His thoughts also linger in the memory of his mother's tragic fate. Finally, Nate tries to unravel his mystifying feelings for a disturbed, and disturbing, former student named Opal Mauntz. Like many of Russo's protagonists, Nate's voice is wise-cracking, ...more
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nate in Venice

I have only read one other book that Richard Russo has written and that was Empire Falls which was a wonderful book that I really enjoyed. I don't know why I haven't picked up any of his other books by now but I really need to. This was a great story and now I will devour every book Richard Russo has written.
Brent Bridges
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another wonderful story by one of my favorite authors. I felt like I was walking around Venice with the group. The only reason I gave it four instead of five stars is because I wanted more...
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
3 1/2 stars

I am a huge fan of Richard Russo. I thoroughly enjoyed Empire Falls, The Straight Man, and The Whore's Child and other stories. This one not so much but mainly because I thought it was only about 75% complete.

Several of the top tier literary writers have joined the trend of releasing novellas between releases of their longer works: Joyce Carol Oates (Patricide: A Novella), Anne Tyler (The Beginner's Goodbye), Margaret Atwood (I'm Starved for You), Saul Bellow (The Actual) and Phillip
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-reads
Richard Russo's novella about a just-retired English professor is an engaging page-turner. The simple title had me expecting a coming-of-age story, which I suppose it is, but not the kind I was expecting. Nate is sixty, not twenty, but in some important ways, he still needs to find his way, and it's a relief to this reader that it's never too late.

Nate in Venice is a very short piece of fiction, so I hate to say too much, except that the narrative ended before I was ready. That's okay, though,
I am a bit obsessed with Italy, so when I stumbled upon this shor-vella (totally made-up word: too long to be a short story, too short to be a novella) I knew I had to read it.

While my initial focus/interest was on "returning" to Italy, Nate in Venice ended up being an instance of an increasing personal favorite pseudo-genre of books, one I recently "discovered" had a name: the white male f&ck-up novel. Being a white male who has suddenly found himself in a middle-age bracket, I find that I
David Stone
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was surprised at how meaty the story is. In the vein of Death in Venice or The Time of the Cukoo/ Summertime, a visitor to Venice confronts his mortality in a place that is itself sinking into nothingness. With great economy and style Russo makes us care about a number of older tourists in Italy, chief among them the Jane Austen scholar Nick. The glamour of Venice might seem a stretch for the blue collar specialist Russo, but there is some grit in Nick's background and relationship with his ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyable tale of an underdog, sabotaging himself and ultimately triumphing in his own understated way.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Anything Richard Russo writes automatically goes to my to-read list. He's certainly my favorite author, and I enjoyed this novella about as much as I could have hoped. Part of the joy of reading Russo is the depth of the characters, not just in terms of pure character development, but in the way he develops a deep bench of supporting characters. The quirky, small-town or collegiate types are among the highlights of any Russo novel, and probably his biggest strength as a writer. So in a novella, ...more
May 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Just a short story - Think this wasn't as good as promised, even tho author a Pulitzer Prize winner
After a tragic incident with a student, Nate, a professor at a small New England college, retires from teaching and from life. He ends his self-imposed exile with a tour-group trip to Venice in the company of his overbearing, mostly estranged brother. Nate is unsure he’s equipped for the challenges of human contact, especially the fraternal kind. He tries to play along, keep up, mixing his
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found myself wanting to savor this a chapter at a time, with reflection time built in during my reading. Russo can go down the strangest topical cul-de-sacs and still make things fit together. I found the discussions of the intricacies of smart phones, art made of dirt, Venice, aging, bacon parties (?), family and dating relationships, and poor writing habits to function to set the mood and tell the story. I really appreciated his discussion of college-level writing in the Wikipedia/Google age ...more
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
What an interesting little piece of writing. It's a Kindle "single," I can hardly count it toward my 2013 Book Challenge, but I wanted to say something about it anyway.

The thing I noticed most was the author's use of tense change to move between the past, the distant past, and the present. It wasn't seamless, and I found myself annoyed in places due to the changes. That said, the characters were interesting, and remarkably well-drawn given the brevity of this piece. In the end, I was happy for
Ellen Campbell
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Several people who have reviewed this book have said that this is their first Richard Russo book and they enjoyed it a lot. To those people, I say try some of his others, because in my opinion he is one of the best authors out there, but this is not one of his gems. I did enjoy the character development and some sentences and paragraphs were pure genius, but the story did not captivate me like "Nobody's Fool" or "Empire Falls" two of my favorite books of all time. I missed the feeling of being ...more
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful novella. It doesn't fall into my usual categories of mystery, thriller, historical, sic-fi, non-fiction reading choices. But, I enjoyed this more than most of what I've read in quite a while. It is a product of the Byliner series and I'll be getting more of their offerings in the future. I think this is an good example of what e-readers are doing for us - the return of novella length works. Russo makes every word count and dispenses with empty filler.

He connects you with his
May 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Nate has a close encounter of the unpleasant kind in his college classroom and pretty much hangs up his gloves and retires from life. He has an opportunity to maybe return to the living with an excursion to Venice, Italy with some other people and his brother and goes. Within that trip we learn in bits and pieces what happened in the classroom with a young lady with Asbergers Syndrome, except that no, we really don't. In the meantime, Nate and his brother Julian battle out old grudges and ...more
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
i can't tell if russo's work is slipping or whether his characters are simply losing relevance for me. i loved the first half dozen of his novels that i read — filled with characters that were complexly imperfect, variably misinterpreted by the world and, as a consequence, deeply real and compelling. yet, with every passing book i read, i find this to be less the case, and particularly so with nate. perhaps it was the shorter format, maybe its that the novelty of russo's style is wearing off — ...more
Brenda Tipper
The story started out interestingly enough. The reader feels "plopped" in the middle of Nate's life and gradually the key things that shaped it and brought it to where it is are brought out through his time with the Biennale group in Venice. As I read I was keen to find out what had happened with "the Mauntz girl" and the other key background pieces described in Nate's life were brought in in an interesting way.

However, although I know it's a novella and it shouldn't go on for too long, towards
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Nate in Venice is a short little novella that Richard Russo published solely as an ebook. In the article I read about it he said he kept trying to make it into something larger, but it just wasn't happening so he thought it would be a great way to try out the ebook publishing platform.

The book is centered around Nate a retired college professor who left his job after an unfortunate incident with one of his students. He has withdrawn from life until his brother Julian convinces him to go on an
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nook
Richard Russo has been one of my favorite authors for a long time now, so I was excited to read his novella, Nate in Venice. I didn't mind that it was short, but I thought some chapters were much better than others. Some chapters seemed unnecessary to the overall story, while I would of preferred other chapters to be longer and go more in depth. His writing is always good, but I didn't find myself getting "lost" in the story, like I have with some of his other books. As the reader, we are given ...more
Carolyn Mck
Jun 14, 2016 rated it liked it
It's a long time since I read a Russo and I thought this novella might be just the thing to warm my heart after a rather gruelling (abandoned) novel. And it did that - I enjoyed the character of Nate, the retired English professor who had agreed to join an art tour of Venice with his brother and other ill-assorted characters. But there wasn't as much depth as I hoped - after recently reading the novella, Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift, I was struck by how comparatively shallow the plotting and ...more
Mar 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Most of this feels like a continuation of Russo's dull "Bridge of Sighs," part of which also took place in Venice. Like that novel, this is less atmospheric than reading Venice's Wikipedia page. Most of the novella is Nate plodding around whining about his past mistakes with a student with Asperger's and his relationship with his brother.

Between this and Russo's "That Old Cape Magic" it seems like Russo could be the champion of what I call "Viagra fiction", ie fiction targeted at aging yuppies,
Jonathan F
May 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
I just finished reading Nate in Venice, a novella, and I am terribly disappointed by it. I was looking forward to reading my first Richard Russo text and found it dull. I am sorry to say that his narrative voice is plain bad. He doesn't allow the characters to come alive, instead, he mentions every thought of his hero, Nate, and builds up the story to be something that is ultimately, not enjoyable. I found the plot about his student to be dry, it never leads to anything climactic. I'm so bummed ...more
Christine Durkin
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's almost torture that Russo has written a Novella of less than 100 pages, but I'll take it.

He immediately draws you into a character-rich setting, never wanting to leave.

No thrill rides here. I wouldn't want this book to go any faster, and miss out on the much more satisfying road trip in summertime with the top down.

In Nate in Venice, as in Straight Man, Empire Falls and Nobody's Fool, there's his signature sense of humor, giving you plenty of laugh out loud moments as well. It just doesn't
Sep 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Nate in Venice was a disappointment overall. A thin novella, in length and in depth, it takes place in Venice as two brothers meet for a trip in the city. Venice serves as a scenic backdrop and as a metaphor for the sinking lives of the characters. There is the occasional bout of wit and humor common to early Russo, but it fell flat in the end. I didn’t really care about any of them in the end and didn’t think about the book one moment beyond when I finished it. Not a good sign. So bummed that ...more
Jul 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I wanted this to be better, being a fan of R. Russo. Perhaps my expectations were too high for a novella, but I got very little sense of place (which is a shame, being set in Venice), and the characters felt underdeveloped, like there was something going on off camera. Part of that could be due to the fact I just finished Heft which in contrast to Nate, portrays a remarkably vivid English professor.
mike larson
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Doubt with an undercurrent of discovery

Russo is a master at developing the character of his subjects. One can't help but somehow feeling both antagonistic and sympathetic toward Nate as he struggles inanely through his Venice adventure bent on fulfilling a promise made to his mother. All the while recalling the misgivings of his life in higher education. It is a good read, as are all of Russo's works.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard Russo does it again. Wonderful! I was transported to Venice to watch over,and observe the bewildered and searching Nate as he tries to make sense of what it means to be connected to another.

Richard rd Russo has done it again. I was transported to Venice to watch Nate struggle with what it means. To be connected__ to his job,his family, to a woman he care for, a woman he loved, a stranger. A lovely read
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a novella about a retired English professor who takes a tour to Venice with a group that includes his older, almost-estraged brother. As with all Russo works, it is engaging and enjoyable. Due to the nature of the short format, things felt rushed (Nate falls in love with and feels like he has found a soulmate in the space of 48 hours). But it was a breath of fresh air from the author's normal offering of hard-scrapple life with messed-up men living out lives of quiet desperation.
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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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