I heard Russo on Fresh Air with Terri Gross. I was drawn into downloading the audiobook when Russo talked about Philip Seymour-Hoffman and how he had pictured him as Raymer when writing the sequel to Nobody’s Fool. I haven’t seen the movie or read the book (yet), but I love PSH, so had to read a book written with him in the author’s mind.
I loved every minute of this book. Raymer is mid-life and struggling with the death of his cheating wife and the puzzle of the identity of her lover. Sully is 70 and terminally ill, examining his life and yet blind to so much around him. This is a book with a male perspective, certainly, although Russo’s Ruth is identifiable–she’s just not fully three-dimensional. Her identity is tied to three men–Sully, her husband, and her ex-son-in-law. There’s little of her without them. Of course, Raymer is tied to his dead wife and Sully to Ruth and Miss Beryl.
This is a tale about luck–the luck of one town over another, of one man over another, of one woman over another. The question of fate vs. free will, our ability to influence our own luck, haunts each character’s story line.
The novel reads like a love story between an author and his characters, people so beloved he couldn’t leave them at the end of Nobody’s Fool. Characters he made me love without even having met them when they were nobody’s fool.