Richard Russo
Straight Man
August 09, 2019 Comments.. 254
Straight Man Richard Russo William Henry Devereaux, Jr spiritually suited to playing left field but forced by a bad hamstring to try first base, is the unlikely chairman of the English department at West Central Pennsylvania University Over the course of a single convoluted week, he threatens to execute a duck, has his nose slashed by a feminist poet, discovers that his secretary writes better fiWilliam Henry Devereaux, Jr spiritually suited to playing left field but forced by a bad hamstring to try first base, is the unlikely chairman of the English department at West Central Pennsylvania University Over the course of a single convoluted week, he threatens to execute a duck, has his nose slashed by a feminist poet, discovers that his secretary writes better fiction than he does, suspects his wife of having an affair with his dean, and finally confronts his philandering elderly father, the one time king of American Literary Theory, at an abandoned amusement park.Such is the canvas of Richard Russo s Straight Man, a novel of surpassing wit, poignancy, and insight As he established in his previous books Mohawk, The Risk Pool, and Nobody s Fool Russo is unique among contemporary authors for his ability to flawlessly capture the soul of the wise guy and the heart of a difficult parent In Hank Devereaux, Russo has created a hero whose humor and identification with the absurd are mitigated only by his love for his family, friends, and, ultimately, knowledge itself.Unforgettable, compassionate, and laugh out loud funny, Straight Man cements Richard Russo s reputation as one of the master storytellers of our time.From the Hardcover edition.. Straight Man William Henry Devereaux Jr spiritually suited to playing left field but forced by a bad hamstring to try first base is the unlikely chairman of the English department at West Central Pennsylvania Un
  • Title: Straight Man
  • Author: Richard Russo
  • ISBN: 9780307809940
  • Page: 302
  • Format: ebook
  • Straight Man Richard Russo

    • [AZW] ✓ Straight Man | By è Richard Russo
      302 Richard Russo
    • thumbnail Title: [AZW] ✓ Straight Man | By è Richard Russo
      Posted by:Richard Russo
      Published :2019-08-09T06:52:01+00:00

    1 Blog on “Straight Man

    1. Jim Fonseca says:

      Another good story from Richard Russo I previously reviewed Empire Falls.This one is studded with humor It s really an academic novel, centered on a 49 year old professor mid life crisis at a lower tier university, perhaps a branch campus, in a by passed town in Pennsylvania He is in the sandwich generation with a wife, whom he loves, who is a school principal, and two daughters One married daughter lives in town and they worry about her financial situation and that she might be in an abusive re [...]

    2. B the BookAddict says:

      Dear Mr Russo,I ve just finishedStraight Man the fourth of your books that I ve read including Empire Falls I thought Empire Falls was pretty brilliant but in my mind, you should have won a Pulitzer for Straight Man I would have voted for Straight Man but damn, I m not on the panel, but if I was, I d vote for Straight Man.You know, I had to wait ages to read it my library didn t have it So I ordered it from that place with the same name as where the guy who may or may not have shot Kennedy was s [...]

    3. Margitte says:

      Richard Russo is one of my favorite authors His books are always embedded in forlorn towns, circling around Dilapidated Central, suffering blue collar havens, podunk as can be, with sell by dates splashed all over it The people, towns, souls and minds have lost their initial charm while slowly sliding into obscurity The atmosphere is always a bit depressing The stories are always slow moving, and satirical social commentary becomes the mainstay of all the conversations everywhere FROM THE BLURBR [...]

    4. Brad says:

      I remember almost nothing about Richard Russo s Straight Man I imagine I laughed a couple of times, and I think I enjoyed the reading experience, but there is only one specific thing that I remember from the book itself More on that later, though, because I want to talk about the peripheral things I remember about Straight Man.I remember reading it for a Literary Theory class my first class at my new University with one of my all time favourite profs, Dr W He admitted, very early into the book, [...]

    5. ☮Karen says:

      3.5 stars.This had parts I found interesting, some very funny scenes, some compassionate, and some where I tuned out Russo s humor is wry and masculine Often jokes are made at the expense of others students, females, academic colleagues, and academia alike are targeted , but also self deprecating I adore him, but will probably always compare all his works to Empire Falls, a tough one to live up to IMO.

    6. Albert says:

      I have read enough of Richard Russo s novels to become very familiar with his style of writing and storytelling The types of characters he creates, the settings in which he places his characters, how he builds his characters and the type of conflict he creates in his stories While some level of predictability comes with this familiarity, I continue to enjoy Russo s work For one thing, he makes me laugh I also enjoy his characters and find myself rooting for them despite their insistence on repea [...]

    7. Marianne says:

      What ails people is never simple, and William of Occam, who provided mankind with a beacon of rationality by which to view the world of physical circumstance, knew better than to apply his razor to the irrational, where entities multiply like strands of a virus under a microscope Straight Man is the fourth novel by Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist, Richard Russo William Henry Devereaux Jnr, Hank at almost fifty, is interim chairman of the English department at the chronically underfunded [...]

    8. Stephen P says:

      He lives his life as head of the English Department at a western Pennsylvania University Married, he is the father of grown children, the owner of a house and dog The fifty years of his life has been dedicated to the fine honing of obstinate vengeance, the satisfaction of tripping others up, the culmination not of progressing himself or family but the endless monotone of self destruction These are the consequences with which he sculpts himself, along with a sealed isolation protecting him from t [...]

    9. Emily says:

      Hilarious I imagine the guy from House playing this role in the film Anyway, Russo is so funny and satiracle and wonderful and you will love and hate the main character because he will remind you of yourself in so many ways Fabulous It bothers me so much when people have such auper high expectations of a novel IT IS FICTION, people, it isn t supposed to mimic real life, the characters aren t supposed to appear super realistic The story is supposed to transport you to another time and place, mayb [...]

    10. Amanda says:

      Loved, loved, loved this book The main character, Hank Devereaux is just a mess, but a likable one On his academic campus, Hank is the rebel without a cause He delights in being unpredictible and stirring things up to often hilarious results However, there s also substance to the novel as Hank, who is nearing his 50th birthday, is coming to terms with the passing of youth and with his own mortality This situation and the insight granted the reader by Hank s first person narrative makes the chara [...]

    11. M says:

      I m beginning to wonder if Russo is a one book man First, I m getting tired of his smarter than everyone snappy mouthed wife of protagonist role that ran throughout this and Bridge Second, this has got to be the all time most unlikeable leading male ever, and sometimes that can be fun I don t know why but I feel that is true with heroines but here it was simply irritating Hank had a constant barrage of supposedly clever lines that fell flat and just made him out to be a jerk and meanwhile the w [...]

    12. Peter says:

      I have long avoided academic satires for two main reasons The first is that I myself am an academic of sorts and I already know how ridiculous I am Second the genre has always seemed to me like shooting fish with PhDs in a barrel.But now, I m going on the academic job market this year, so I ve decided some comic relief about my chosen profession might be a good thing The main reason being if I can tell myself on some level that it s all a giant cluster cuss of ego surfing solipsistic lunacy than [...]

    13. Jason Pettus says:

      Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being reprinted illegally I was all excited when I first stumbled across this in the New Additions section of the Chicago Public Library s ebook collection, because I thought I had randomly come across Pulitzer winner Richard Russo s newest title just minutes after it had been announced at the website, and therefore was going to get to check [...]

    14. Robert W says:

      The Richard Russo books I ve read have all taken place in decaying New York mill towns Straight Man varies that by taking place in a decaying Pennsylvania railroad town Actually, it differs from his other books quite significantly by belonging to another genre it s a campus comedy, a genre I associate with writers like David Lodge Russo does a hell of a good job with it, as would be expected William Henry Devereaux is the creative writing professor at a small state college, a place where his col [...]

    15. Pete says:

      After looking over numerous reviews of this book I found the common problem the one and two star reviewers had with Straight Man was either a dislike of the main character or they didn t understand the humor I m not sure how much this should worry me I found that my own sense of humor is eerily similar to the main characters and was laughing consistently throughout the novel.The title refers to a straight man in a comedy One who sets the scene for a great punchline I can easily tell you a way to [...]

    16. James says:

      I have read this book at least seven times now, and I never tire of it In fact, fairly recently, I was loaning a copy to a friend since I always have one on hand , and thought I d just glance through a few favorite passages, but ended up re reading the whole thing _again_ I just can t get enough of this book It helps, I suppose, that I was once ensconsed in academia, and so I ve basically met everyone Russo lampoons so skillfully here Don t get me wrong I love the other novels Russo wrote as wel [...]

    17. Kristina says:

      I don t want to give Richard Russo s Straight Man one star, but I feel I must After the first fifty pages or so, I started to dislike it The I read, the I disliked it Now that I ve finished all 391 mostly painful pages, I m irritated that I allowed myself to get distracted by this frustrating book I don t feel as if I learned anything or was even sufficiently entertained A friend recommended this book to me, telling me it was a story of academic dysfunction, a state we are both familiar with H [...]

    18. Ron Charles says:

      University life has served as an irresistible subject for some of the funniest satire in modern literature.After teaching briefly at Sarah Lawrence College, Mary McCarthy set the standard high with The Groves of Academe 1952 , her acerbic satire of a liberal college for women Just two years ago Jane Smiley, who teaches at Iowa State, lambasted a Midwestern university in Moo A Novel, Random House a bestseller that sprawled across dozens of strange and hilarious characters.The narrator of the late [...]

    19. Connie says:

      Meh 1.5 I finished it Barely That s about all I can say for the book I bought it for 4 from The Book Barn a while back after all, I should really read something other than science fiction or fantasy sometimes, right The problem is, whenever I go outside my book comfort zone, my success rate tends to be fairly low Ironically, when I went back to The Book Barn today looking to get rid of the darn thing , they wouldn t take it back I brought back about 20 books and 25 dvds and some of them pretty s [...]

    20. David Lentz says:

      The novel is droll, dry, wry, witty An endless stream of one liners and punchlines that roll off the tongue of William Henry Devereaux, Jr an English professor at a state college in central Pennsylvania Having read Empire Falls, the protagonist in this novel is proactive, decisive and optimistic I enjoy the good natured wit of Russo and the way that he rounds off his story lines like a refreshing ellipse His characters are fully drawn and unique individuals with eccentricities and nuances that [...]

    21. Elizabeth☮ says:

      I love Russo s writing and the way he creates memorable characters with rich lives But, the setting of this novel makes it relevant to me as it is a small liberal arts college with our main character, Hank Devereaux Jr as an English professor I was laughing at memorable conversations between the colleagues I made note of several observations about the politics within this contentious group it s the same in high school I found the story meandered at times, but I liked the characters enough to st [...]

    22. E.C. Newman says:

      I finished a book

    23. J.K. Grice says:

      To me, there is no finer working American author than Richard Russo STRAIGHT MAN was published 20 years ago, but it still resonates as a very humorous and engaging work of fiction Russo does a serviceable job with our main protagonist, Hank Devereaux at least in regard to our maintaining an interest in Hank s personality, musings, and adventures The supporting cast of characters is also well rounded and fleshed out Hank may be an English professor, but just like everybody else, he shares the Ave [...]

    24. Amy says:

      William Henry Devereaux Jr Hank is the chair of a bickering English department at West Central Pennsylvania University, beset with budget problems and long standing personal grievances It sounds like sort of a dry premise, but the events that unfold over the course of the book which I don t think takes place in much than a week or two are surprisingly funny And yet it s not a comic novel the story is told with great sincerity.The first thing I ll say is that, having read Russo s Empire Falls ju [...]

    25. Hung says:

      A bitingly funny novel without ever being mean spirited, Straight Man is a wonderful send up of the foibles and inanities of academia Most of my experiences in higher ed have been from the student side of things, but I ve taught English Comp, attended numerous fiction writing workshops, and dealt with enough idiosyncratic faculty and administrators to be heartily amused and somewhat frightened by the accuracy of Russo s depiction, not only of characters, but of the ridiculous and plain sad situa [...]

    26. Jeanette"Astute Crabbist" says:

      This has got to be one of the quirkiest novels I ve ever read.Funniest sentence in the whole book It s not an easy thing to be left holding a piece of fruit during introductions Other great lines I m not a _____________, but I can play that role He was a small man Left handed He walked with a limp He served in India So much is obvious, but beyond this I can tell you nothing except that he may have recently eaten asparagus This is the fourth Russo book I ve read, and I seem to be in the minority [...]

    27. Brooke Shirts says:

      Ahhh Never has a book made me feel so good about not going into academia.William Hank Henry Devereaux, Jr is the embattled head of a rivalry tastic English department in a crumbling liberal arts college Over the novel s four days, all heck breaks loose while his wife is out of town, Hank s department goes haywire, his daughter s marriage dissolves, his nose is mutilated by a coworker, he threatens to kill a goose on local television oh, there s a drunken episode involving a hot tub, and another [...]

    28. Renata says:

      This is one of the funniest books I have ever read It is hilarious from the Prologue which begs to be read aloud to the zany ending William Devereaux is at that midpoint in his life where he realizes his life will never quite live up to his expectations He will never live up to the academic reputation of his father, the college where he teaches flounders in mediocrity and chaos rules between the members of his English Dept Russo s writing and situations remind me of novels by David Lodge Nice Wo [...]

    29. Beverly says:

      This made me laugh out loud which is something I never do when reading, even a really hilarious book A down at heel college professor is bored with his job and deals with office politics and in fighting among colleagues, it is a scream and ends on a chuckle which is hard to do.

    30. Chris says:

      At first I found this book merely funny in an ongoing chuckle rather than laugh out loud sort of way Naturally it reminded me of my own 6 years as a grad student adjunct professor in English departments, with perhaps even backbiting than we graduate students were aware of It seemed to me that the novel, set in an English department in the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania, made excessive use of gags our English professor hero donning a fake nose and glasses before the local TV crew and grabbing a [...]

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