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Straight Man

by Richard Russo

  • ISBN: 9780375701900
  • ISBN10: 0375701907

Straight Man

by Richard Russo

  • List Price: $16.95
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Publish date: 06/01/1998
  • ISBN: 9780375701900
  • ISBN10: 0375701907
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Description: "The funniest serious novel I have read since -- well, maybe since Portnoy's Complaint". -- The New York Times Book Review

In his uproarious new novel, Richard Russo performs the same high-wire walk between hilarity and heartache that made Nobody's Fool so popular (and the basis for a major motion picture starring Paul Newman).

Russo's "straight man" is William Henry Devereaux, Jr., a once-promising novelist who, as he approaches fifty, finds himself the reluctant chairman of the English department of a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt. The reason for Devereaux's reluctance is two-fold: a) he is a temperamental anarchist who is far happier provoking chaos than maintaining order; and b) his department is so savagely divided that it makes the Balkans look like one big happy family.

In the course of a single convoluted week, Devereaux will have his nose mangled by an angry colleague, suspect his wife of betraying him with his dean, wonder ira curvaceous adjunct is trying to seduce him with peach pits, and threaten to execute a goose on local television. All this while coming to terms with his philandering father, the dereliction of his youthful promise, and the ominous failure of certain vital body functions. In short, Straight Man is classic Russo -- side-splitting and true-to-life, witty, compassionate, and impossible to put down.

"There is a big, wry heart beating at the center of Russo's fiction". -- The New Yorker

"(Russo) skewers academic pretensions and infighting with mad abandon...in a clear and muscular prose that is a pleasure to read.... I had to stop often to guffaw, gasp, wheeze and wipe away my tears". -- Henry Kisor, ChicagoSun-Times

"Russo can penetrate to the tender quick of ordinary, American lives". -- Entertainment Weekly

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