After eight commanding works of fiction, the Pulitzer Prize winner now turns to memoir in a hilarious, moving, and always surprising account of his life, his parents, and the upstate New York town they all struggled variously to escape.
Anyone familiar with Richard Russo's acclaimed novels will recognize Gloversville once famous for producing that eponymous product and anything else made of leather. This is where the author grew up, the only son of an aspirant mother and a charming, feckless father who were born into this close-knit community. But by the time of his childhood in the 1950s, prosperity was inexorably being replaced by poverty and illness (often tannery-related), with everyone barely scraping by under a very low horizon.
A world elsewhere was the dream his mother instilled in Rick, and strived for herself, and their subsequent adventures and tribulations in achieving that goal—beautifully recounted here—were to prove lifelong, as would Gloversville's fearsome grasp on them both. Fraught with the timeless dynamic of going home again, encompassing hopes and fears and the relentless tides of familial and individual complications, this story is arresting, comic, heartbreaking, and truly beautiful, an immediate classic.
About Richard RussoSee more books from this Author
She is a difficult woman, and as a dutiful son, Russo has an obligation, and he takes that obligation seriously...Unfortunately for the reader, the constant carping as he and his growing family tiptoe around her discontents gets tedious.Read Full Review of Elsewhere: A memoir | See more reviews from Blog Critics
Unfortunately, her overwhelming anxieties and demands, forced on to him during her life, seem to consume him still, even after her death. Moving? At times. Hilarious? Never.Read Full Review of Elsewhere: A memoir | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books
At times it roars along, his mother making wrong turn after wrong turn, events that are both fascinating and painful to read about in much the same way a car crash in fascinating and painful to look at.Read Full Review of Elsewhere: A memoir | See more reviews from Toronto Star
Russo also possesses another authorial trait unusual in literary circles — what he calls his “hard-won optimism.” How he managed to acquire that, the reader can only guess.Read Full Review of Elsewhere: A memoir | See more reviews from National Post arts
An aggregated and normalized score based on 390 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes