Chris Gager's Reviews > Nobody's Fool

Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo
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's review
Apr 03, 2012

really liked it
Read from June 05 to 09, 2012

Starting tonight... Saw some of the movie on TV years ago. Great cast.
Day one... Poor Sully... if there's a bad decision to be made he makes it. This is apex realistic fiction. RR is a renowned purveyor of such along with favorites Alice Munro, Richard Ford, V.S. Naipaul, Alice McDermott, Grace Metalious, Richard Yates and Jonathan Franzen. And yet, of course, it's not really REAL. It's a story written in a style called realistic. Anyway, a few notes:
- North Bath the first summer resort? The Homestead in western Va. was also a mineral springs focused 18th century resort.
- Zamble Mask... of the Guro people in Cote D'Ivoire, West Africa.
- Sully's pickup-mud-cement blocks disaster = a perfectly real trial.
- The book moves along fluidly as an unfolding of set pieces focused around conversations. One day described so far(Wednesday before Thanksgiv).
- Lydia Pinkham... 19th century inventor and marketer of a "Women's Tonic" for menstrual and menopause symptoms. Of dubious medical value.

Next Day(for me and the book)... life goes on in North Bath. We meet the demon-child Wacker. Perhaps an inheritor of Big(great-grandfather) Jim's evil bearing. A Cormac McCarthy character waiting to grow up a little and do some real damage to others or himself. The so-far unseen Dierdre seems unreal and out of place. A device...
widow's walk - an architectural feature apparently having little to do with anxious ship's captains wives(as I was told in childhood).
- I'm having fun imagining Paul Newman and Bruce Willis in the roles of Sully and his frenemy, Carl.

Saturday... didn't get much reading in as I had to work last night. I WANT to sit down and finish but "life" intervenes. Some notes:
- Adult vs. child eating wars. Similar scenes in "The Corrections" and in my own childhood.
- Sully is a blood brother to Patrick Melrose(and me). He uses detachment to protect himself. A man emotionally damaged in childhood. Bad blood-fathers would be Big Jim and David Melrose. Does Sully wear out our patience and sympathy?
- This book is very similar to "Empire Falls" but a bit better I think. Not as "sprawling". Tighter...
And done after the weekend with this slice of almost real life in a dead-end small town. Very nicely done by RR. I was wondering how the dog thing would work out... Notes:
- Vera... Queen of acute codependency.
- Like fellow Mainer S. King, Russo considers Boulder to be an upbeat possibility. The "perfect" town.
- Sully, Sully, Sully... let it go brother! 4.5 stars rounds down to 4. Almost a five, though.
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06/06/2012 page 120
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