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549 pages, Paperback
First published May 25, 1993
NOBODY'S FOOL is a story about nothing really.......just every day life in a small failing town with unusual and addictive characters, each with their own problems and unorthodox ways.
A flawed 60 year old Donald Sullivan, (Sully) with his sarcastic mouth and bum knee lead the reader on a memorable and often humorous ride through some of the unluckiest days of his life (which is most of them) while his big heart and compassion for the old and weak shine through.
Russo does spin a great yarn, and having loved and laughed my way through the movie adaptation, (many times with my husband) I really thought I was going to wiz right through this 549 page novel, but in fact, did not. Perhaps it was my mood or the bit of animal cruelty (worse than I remember in the movie) but I just thought it was a little slow and little long.
Still a great read though, and am now all set to get back to these crazy characters in EVERYBODY'S FOOL.
Richard Russo's slyly funny and moving novel follows the unexpected operation of grace in a deadbeat town in upstate New York—and in the life of one of its unluckiest citizens, Sully, who has been doing the wrong thing triumphantly for fifty years.Sully, Sully, Sully...
Divorced from his own wife and carrying on halfheartedly with another man's, saddled with a bum knee and friends who make enemies redundant, Sully now has one new problem to cope with: a long-estranged son who is in imminent danger of following in his father's footsteps. With its sly and uproarious humor and a heart that embraces humanity's follies as well as its triumphs, Nobody's Fool is storytelling at its most generous.
Sully: "I’m about to fuck up, he thought clearly, and his next thought was, but I don’t have to. This was followed closely by a third thought, the last of this familiar sequence, which was, but I’m going to anyway. And, as always, this third thought was oddly liberating, though Sully knew from experience that the sensation, however pleasurable, would be short-lived. He was about to harm himself. There could be no doubt of this. But at such moments of liberation, the clear knowledge that he was about to do himself in coexisted with the exhilarating, if entirely false, sense that he was about to reshape, through the force of his own will, his reality."Smart ass, dumb ass, kick ass, but not bad ass. Sully was just bad. Well, that was his fault, said the women in his life.
There were times when he wondered if this were a special skill he possessed, this ability to redirect almost any woman’s anger to himself. They all seemed perfectly prepared to surrender their original object of scorn. Whenever Ruth was angry at Zack, Vera at Ralph, Toby Roebuck (and all the other women in Carl’s life) at Carl—these women were all apparently satisfied to vent their fury on Sully if he happened to be handy, as if he embodied in concentrated form some male principle they considered to be the cause of their dissatisfaction with their own men.Somewhere in between, Sully taught his grandson Will to use a stopwatch to time his courage; checked on eighty-year-old Mrs. People every morning to see if she was still alive; gave ninety-four-year-old Matty a vintage cash register to play with in her own diner, now her daughter Cass's, to stop Matty from calling her old customers, fart blossoms while yelling at them to PAY UP!
“Maybe Sully’s young philosophy professor at the college had been right. Maybe free will was just something you thought you had. Maybe Sully’s sitting there trying to figure out what he should do next was silly. Maybe there was no way out of this latest fix he’d gotten himself into. Maybe even the trump card he’d been saving, or imagined he was saving, wasn’t in his hand at all. … Still, Sully felt the theory to be wrong. It made everything slack. He’d never considered life to be as tight as some people…made it out to be, but it wasn’t that loose either.” - Richard Russo - Nobody's Fool