Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Interventions," by Richard Russo

I am a big fan of Richard Russo’s fiction. His novels, such as “Empire Falls,” “Bridge of Sighs,” and “That Old Cape Magic,” are to me examples of the best that fiction has to offer: they are deeply engaged with humanity, families, the big questions of life; they are engaging; they are funny (especially "Straight Man," a hilarious academic novel); they make readers feel connected to the larger world; they are well written. I have always felt (perhaps irrationally) that Russo himself must be a good person, and his memoir “Elsewhere” (which I posted about here on 11/10/12) seemed to confirm that impression. I have just read a slightly odd assortment of Russo’s fiction and memoir, published in four little booklets gathered in one boxed set titled “Interventions: A Novella & Three Stories” (Down East Maine, 2012). I say “odd” because one of the four is a novella, two are short stories, and the fourth is a mini-memoir. One of the stories has been published before; the others have not. Each booklet’s cover is by the author’s daughter, the artist Kate Russo. The covers are beautiful and the whole boxed set is, as the back cover states, “handsome.” The stories themselves are, unsurprisingly to me, compelling and definitely worth reading.

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