Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo
A novel

75%

20 Critic Reviews

Mr. Russo’s people prefer to sideswipe, wisecrack, sneak, scheme and talk to figments of their imaginations. It’s a joy to spend time with any of them, two-legged or four.
-NY Times

Synopsis

An immediate national best seller and instant classic from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls. Richard Russo returns to North Bath—“a town where dishonesty abounds, everyone misapprehends everyone else and half the citizens are half-crazy” (The New York Times)—and the characters who made Nobody’s Fool a beloved choice of book clubs everywhere. Everybody’s Fool is classic Russo, filled with humor, heart, hard times, and people you can’t help but love, possibly because their various faults make them so human.
 
Everybody’s Fool picks up roughly a decade since we were last with Miss Beryl and Sully on New Year's Eve 1984. The irresistible Sully, who in the intervening years has come by some unexpected good fortune, is staring down a VA cardiologist’s estimate that he has only a year or two left, and it’s hard work trying to keep this news from the most important people in his life: Ruth, the married woman he carried on with for years . . . the ultra-hapless Rub Squeers, who worries that he and Sully aren’t still best friends . . . Sully’s son and grandson, for whom he was mostly an absentee figure (and now a regretful one). We also enjoy the company of Doug Raymer, the chief of police who’s obsessing primarily over the identity of the man his wife might’ve been about to run off with, before dying in a freak accident . . . Bath’s mayor, the former academic Gus Moynihan, whose wife problems are, if anything, even more pressing . . . and then there’s Carl Roebuck, whose lifelong run of failing upward might now come to ruin. And finally, there’s Charice Bond—a light at the end of the tunnel that is Chief Raymer’s office—as well as her brother, Jerome, who might well be the train barreling into the station.

A crowning achievement—“like hopping on the last empty barstool surrounded by old friends” (Entertainment Weekly)—from one of the greatest storytellers of our time.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

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 May 3, 2016 by Knopf. 496 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
icon13
Peak Rank on May 22 2016
icon2
Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Everybody's Fool
All: 20 | Positive: 14 | Negative: 6

Kirkus

Excellent
on Feb 17 2016

A sequel to the great Nobody’s Fool (1993) checks in on the residents of poor old North Bath, New York, 10 years later...Russo hits his trademark trifecta: satisfying, hilarious, and painlessly profound.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Mar 30 2016

He takes a few false steps, such as giving Raymer a little voice in his head named Dougie, but clever plot twists end the novel on lighthearted note.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on May 04 2016

Mr. Russo’s people prefer to sideswipe, wisecrack, sneak, scheme and talk to figments of their imaginations. It’s a joy to spend time with any of them, two-legged or four.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by T. CORAGHESSAN BOYLE on May 03 2016

...dig deeply into the hearts and minds of its large cast of characters, some of whom are less deserving of that attention than others. Nonetheless, taken together, at over 1,000 pages, the two “Fool” books represent an enormous achievement...

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Kevin Canfield on May 03 2016

There are several harrowing confrontations in these pages, none of which end in predictable fashion, and virtually every character is wounded in one way or another. “Everybody’s Fool” is a decidedly bittersweet affair, a sequel that proves both entertaining and elegiac.

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on May 11 2016

Read EVERYBODY’S FOOL and know that, no matter where it is happening, humans are freaking out about love the same way they have for eons...Wherever you roam, this is the perfect summertime companion.

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AV Club

Below average
Reviewed by Ryan Vlastelica on May 02 2016

The problem is that it can’t be viewed in a vacuum, and suffers in comparison to both the original and Russo’s overall body of work.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Jeff Labrecque on May 06 2016

Russo isn’t as in tune with the female characters of North Bath, but his love for all its misfits sings with every line of whip-smart dialogue. For fans who’ve missed Sully and the gang, Everybody’s Fool is like hopping on the last empty barstool surrounded by old friends.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Good
Reviewed by Brian O’Neill on May 01 2016

I should confess I never read “Nobody’s Fool,’’ but I so reveled in the small gem of a 1994 movie it spawned that it has now led me to read four of Mr. Russo’s other novels...Richard Russo has given readers all they should want.

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PopMatters

Good
Reviewed by Jedd Beaudoin on Aug 09 2016

There’s a tendency here, as in other Russo novels, to race toward a resolution that can leave the reader wanting just a taste more. Still, those faults are forgivable in the face of a character such as Sully, whose return is as welcome as any character’s in memory.

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The Columbus Dispatch

Above average
Reviewed by Ron Charles on May 22 2016

Every other element of the sprawling plot enjoys the benefit of exhaustive examination and digression, but in the final rush to engineer a happy future, the attraction between Charice and Raymer seems too quickly finessed.

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Watermark Books And Cafe

Good
Reviewed by Sarah Bagby on May 03 2016

Richard Russo’s gift of storytelling is unrivaled; he has empathy for his characters no matter how insignificant they seem, he keeps us turning the pages, and he makes us laugh out loud. I envy readers who discover him for the very first time.

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Chicago Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Nick Romeo on May 24 2016

...the sequel has a single cartoonish villain bent on murder and revenge. This generates some superficial excitement, but ultimately fails to rival the charming ordinariness of the earlier novel. Sometimes the dead are better left in peace.

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Library Journal

Excellent
Reviewed by Sally Bissell on May 18 2016

Known for his keen sense of place, the blue-collar mill towns of the Northeast, Russo avoids caricature with writing that reflects his deep affection for the quotidian and for the best and worst that’s found in every human heart.

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The Anniston Star

Good
Reviewed by Steven Whitton on May 22 2016

Richard Russo generously imbues his characters with an enviable humanity. There’s a bit of it to be found in even the worst of them...It’s an indisputable pleasure to welcome Richard Russo back to Bath.

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Nashville Scene

Good
Reviewed by Ed Tarkington on May 26 2016

The film version of Nobody's Fool is among the best and most faithful literary adaptations in recent memory. It's a pity we won't have the privilege of seeing Paul Newman and Philip Seymour Hoffman reprise their roles as Sully and Raymer, but it's a pleasure to imagine them inhabiting these characters in new adventures...

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Colette Bancroft on May 11 2016

Although Everybody’s Fool, like all of Russo’s fiction, is driven by engaging and believable characters, he is also a master of plotting, from cliffhangers to twists that deftly link apparently unrelated threads.

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https://bookpage.com

Good
Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg on May 03 2016

Everybody's Fool is an old-fashioned novel in the best sense of that word, inviting readers to slip comfortably between its covers knowing they're in the hands of a writer who understands the foibles of human nature and can plumb its dark corners with empathy, understanding and wit.

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https://www.bostonglobe.com

Above average
Reviewed by Jan Stuart on May 20 2016

Some complain that Russo errs on the side of overplotting, and personally I wouldn’t have minded if a late-blooming back story involving the mayor and his wife went missing along with that garage-door opener. For Russo’s acolytes, however, too much of a muchness is part of the lure.

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http://portlandbookreview.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Maria Whelan on Sep 01 2016

...manages to win readers hearts, he shocks and surprises with every page but soon enough those qualities that may have disgusted you become more lovable with every passing minute.

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Reader Rating for Everybody's Fool
82%

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