Saturday, February 15, 2014

"The Whore's Child, and Other Stories," by Richard Russo

Readers may remember that I am a big fan of Richard Russo, one of my favorite living authors. His novels, such as “Empire Falls,” “Bridge of Sighs,” "Straight Man," and “That Old Cape Magic” are so real, human and humane; so beautifully written; and so enjoyable to read. I read all of these novels and more before starting this blog in 2010; since starting it I have reviewed Russo’s moving memoir, “Elsewhere” (11/10/12) and a boxed collection of booklets of stories and novellas titled “Interventions” (2/24/13). I have just picked up and read one of Russo’s earlier works, “The Whore’s Child, and Other Stories” (Knopf, 2002), and it did not disappoint. There are seven satisfying stories. The stories often focus on childhood, family, and relationships. The title story is about a nun who was, as indicated, the daughter of a whore, and was given over to a convent as a very young girl; this story is unusual, sad, and yet life-affirming. In fact, all of Russo’s work, although often describing characters who grow up in unpromising settings and deal with serious problems, is ultimately life-affirming, but not in a corny or smarmy way. This book, like the others I have read by Russo, is immensely readable; I devoured it quickly. As with all his work, I highly recommend it.

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