Empire Falls

Empire Falls

4.1 153
by Richard Russo
     
 

ISBN-10: 0307275132

ISBN-13: 2900307275133

Pub. Date: 05/10/2005

Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group


Richard Russo—from his first novel, Mohawk—has demonstrated a peerless affinity for the human tragicomedy, and with this stunning new novel he extends even further his claims on the small-town, blue-collar heart of the country.

Dexter County, Maine, and specifically the town of Empire Falls, has seen better days, and for decades, in fact…  See more details below

Overview


Richard Russo—from his first novel, Mohawk—has demonstrated a peerless affinity for the human tragicomedy, and with this stunning new novel he extends even further his claims on the small-town, blue-collar heart of the country.

Dexter County, Maine, and specifically the town of Empire Falls, has seen better days, and for decades, in fact, only a succession from bad to worse. One by one, its logging and textile enterprises have gone belly-up, and the once vast holdings of the Whiting clan (presided over by the last scion’s widow) now mostly amount to decrepit real estate. The working classes, meanwhile, continue to eke out whatever meager promise isn’t already boarded up.

Miles Roby gazes over this ruined kingdom from the Empire Grill, an opportunity of his youth that has become the albatross of his daily and future life. Called back from college and set to work by family obligations—his mother ailing, his father a loose cannon—Miles never left home again. Even so, his own obligations are manifold: a pending divorce; a troubled younger brother; and, not least, a peculiar partnership in the failing grill with none other than Mrs. Whiting. All of these, though, are offset by his daughter, Tick, whom he guides gently and proudly through the tribulations of adolescence.

A decent man encircled by history and dreams, by echoing churches and abandoned mills, by the comforts and feuds provided by lifelong friends and neighbors, Miles is also a patient, knowing guide to the rich, hardscrabble nature of Empire Falls: fathers and sons and daughters, living and dead, rich and pooralike. Shot through with the mysteries of generations and the shattering visitations of the nation at large, it is a social novel of panoramic ambition, yet at the same time achingly personal. In the end, Empire Falls reveals our worst and best instincts, both our most appalling nightmares and our simplest hopes, with all the vision, grace and humanity of truly epic storytelling.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900307275133
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/10/2005
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries Series
Pages:
496

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Empire Falls 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 150 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the reviews to get a feel for how others have liked or disliked a novel but I do not appreciate the major spoiler disclosed by the February 2010 writer. Come on people! Sheesh.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When my mom recommended this book, I was a little skeptical- her taste and mine don't necessarily mesh. From around the third page, I could see why she enjoyed this book. Great subtle humor from the main character's perspective! You can envision living in Empire Falls, because it is not so different from many small towns in America. As a mom, I was interested in the relationship between Tick and her mother, as well as her and her father's relationship. Overall, a wonderful read for just about anyone. Even my sister wants to read it now after how I said what a good book it is, and she doesn't even like to read! This would be a great book for book club discussion as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wondrous book. It has a sweeping scope but is artful, well-crafted and highly entertaining. Russo shows a deep understanding of all human instincts and relationships in this novel about a small town in Maine and its inhabitants. The characters are well-rounded, their foibles treated as compassionately as their virtues. As Miles Roby repeatedly puts his dreams on hold, his teen-aged daughter takes on supreme importance for him. Miles' epiphany and the denoument are completely satisfying.
eagle3tx More than 1 year ago
Disappointed. Not interesting, not compelling, not novel -- I agree that the characters are well-written, but I could neither identify with nor have empathy for the majority of them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An astonishing study of the livelihoods of middle class America.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I finished reading this book about five years ago...and I still miss the characters to this day. You instantly love them and are pulling for them to succeed from the first time you meet them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first started reading it, I wondered, 'what is this book going to be ABOUT?' By the time I was halfway through, I was so involved with the character's lives that the plot evolved without my realizing it. Engaging, insightful, heartbreaking, a wonderful read, fully accessible to all readers. Empire Falls, a small town economically ruled for many years by the Whiting family in Maine, begins to lose over the years the 'ROYAL' family and their influence. The true power lies not with this wealthy family, but with the force of HUMAN WILL POWER 'whether a WHITING or a NON-WHITING'. The constant question that arose: what WILL these characters do now with his/her given challenge?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have read. The chararcters are well developed not only in their strengths but also their imperfections and shortcomings. The plot and sub plots come together nicely and meaningfully in the end
Guest More than 1 year ago
Richard Russo's 'Empire Falls' is so simple, so sweet and so movingly beautiful that even the grayness of the town the story is set in seems a bit brighter. I got a chance to shake Russo's hand when he visited Milwaukee a few years ago. I had to thank him for writing what is quite possibly the first great book of the 21st century. Once you start reading, you'll never stop. The characters in this book are so vivid, you'd think you know them personally. I just reread this book about a month ago and, like the first time, it killed me to close upon the final page. Kudos to Russo!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have read. Incredible story that is wonderfully written. The characters are real, gritty and true. The 'Amazing Catch' from Miles, gotta love it. It reminds me of 'Winter of Our Discontent' by Steinbeck. But to me the charaters in Empire Falls are more developed and seperated rather than seeming like one big personal allegory. Falls is the story about Miles, the good (and unsexy) man that has had some bad breaks. Give it a read. It is very good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My husband and I both love to read, but we don't always read the same thing. One day, out of desperation with nothing to read, I picked up this book, not realizing that I struck on a gold mine. I have all Richard's books, I have read, Nobody's Fool, and am now Reading Straight Man. Richard Russo is a gifted writer and I enjoy his books very very much!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has all the makings of a great novel. After you read it, you will understand why it won the pulitzer prize. The characters have a depth that is exceptional. You won't be disappointed with the time you spend reading this one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Richard Russo creates a highly realistic fictional world that anyone who has lived in a small town can relate to. The story and characters are so tightly knit and carefully animated that one cannot help but to become immersed in Miles Roby's life and the lives of everyone in Empire Falls. What I like best about this novel is the way in which Miles 'comes of age' himself. Nothing pretentious, cliche, or ordinary about how, at 42, Miles finally overcomes the one mountain that has been holding him back. What a great study of human character...Russo's observations of human behavior are precise and well-developped.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is that 1:30 p.m. pacific time?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
silverfox67 More than 1 year ago
Great novel of small town in Maine dominated by a wealthy, powerful, ruthless woman bent on revenge against the manager of a diner she owns. The characters are well drawn which gives a good understanding of the forces influencing their lives. These characters are a wide variety of ages and circumstances who come together to create a compelling story that ranges all over the emotional map. Very human story in which each character will evoke a reaction from the reader. Hard to put down. Look forward to reading other books by Russo.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The town, the characters and the feelings therein are all easy to identify with. This book is highly readable and leaves you thinking about the characters far after you are finished with it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago