Elsewhere by Richard Russo
A memoir

73%

8 Critic Reviews

The reader experiences a wave of remorse, realizing that therapy and today's fine-sliced pharmaceuticals might have eased his mother's suffering.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

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 Russo

See more books from this Author
Richard Russo is the author of Mohawk, The Risk Pool, Straight Man, Nobody's Fool, and Empire Falls, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and a collection of stories, The Whore's Child. He and his wife live in coastal Maine.
 
Published October 30, 2012 by Vintage. 258 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Nov 18 2012
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Elsewhere
All: 8 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Meg Wolitzer on Dec 07 2012

...a novelist who likes to lavish attention on his vivid characters...

Read Full Review of Elsewhere: A memoir | See more reviews from NY Times

Blog Critics

Below average
Reviewed by Jack Goodstein on Jul 21 2013

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.

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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Amy Finnerty on Oct 31 2012

The reader experiences a wave of remorse, realizing that therapy and today's fine-sliced pharmaceuticals might have eased his mother's suffering.

Read Full Review of Elsewhere: A memoir | See more reviews from WSJ online

NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on Nov 05 2012

In a paragraph or even a phrase, Russo can summon up a whole world, and the world he writes most poignantly about is that of the industrial white working class.

Read Full Review of Elsewhere: A memoir | See more reviews from NPR

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Michael Schaub on Nov 01 2012

If Elsewhere sounds bleak, that's because it is. But it's also one of the most honest, moving American memoirs in years.

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NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Stevie Godson on Oct 30 2012

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

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by James Macgowan on Dec 07 2012

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

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Nov 30 2012

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

Reader Rating for Elsewhere
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 390 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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