A decade after Nobody’s Fool, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo’s returns to the same characters for a new novel: Everybody’s Fool.
Set in the not-so-salubrious American town of North Bath and taking place over a weekend, this new novel has all the heart, grittiness and quirkiness of the first book.
The good-hearted but stroppy and somewhat violent American hero Donald Sullivan is back, and ten years down the track he is trying to ignore his cardiologist’s estimate that he has only a year left.
His long-time love, Ruth, is having her own problems, with distractions caused by her fresh-out-of-prison son-in-law who seems intent on starting trouble.
Local cop Doug Raymer is also distracted, but in his case it’s because of his obsession on finding the identity of the man his wife may or may not have been planning to run off with just before she was killed in a freak accident.
The first book was great but I was worried the author had left it too long to bring us this sequel. I was wrong: the 10-year gap actually helps tell the story, moving things along nicely or (in some cases) proving that old adage that the more thing change, the more they stay the same: while some of the characters have 10 years of life experience to draw on, others highlight just how little can be achieved in a decade if you REALLY put your mind to it.
This satirical novel of life in a working-class town somewhere in America has it all: from wiseguys, funerals and an escaped snake, to dodgy buildings, booze and dramas galore, and they all contribute to what is a cracker of a novel.
By Richard Russo
(Allen & Unwin UK, RRP $36.99)