Mohawk

( 15 )

Overview

Mohawk, New York, is one of those small towns that lie almost entirely on the wrong side of the tracks. Its citizens, too, have fallen on hard times. Dallas Younger, a star athlete in high school, now drifts from tavern to poker game, losing money, and, inevitably, another set of false teeth. His ex-wife, Anne, is stuck in a losing battle with her mother over the care of her sick father. And their son, Randall, is deliberately neglecting his school work--because in a place like ...
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Mohawk

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Overview

Mohawk, New York, is one of those small towns that lie almost entirely on the wrong side of the tracks. Its citizens, too, have fallen on hard times. Dallas Younger, a star athlete in high school, now drifts from tavern to poker game, losing money, and, inevitably, another set of false teeth. His ex-wife, Anne, is stuck in a losing battle with her mother over the care of her sick father. And their son, Randall, is deliberately neglecting his school work--because in a place like Mohawk it doesn't pay to be too smart.

In Mohawk Richard Russo explores these lives with profound compassion and flint-hard wit. Out of derailed ambitions and old loves, secret hatreds and communal myths, he has created a richly plotted, densely populated, and wonderfully written novel that captures every nuance of America's backyard.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Moving dramatizes an older, innocent way of life...brisk, colorful, and often witty." -- The New York Times Book Review
Houston Chronicle
Richard Russo [is] a masterful storyteller with a mission: to chronicle with insight and compassion the day-to-day life of small-town America . . . alternating episodes of boisterous humor with moments of heart-wrenching pathos . . . His characters are wholly sympathetic, but they are also human.
Boston Globe
Russo is a master craftsman . . . The blue-collar heartache at the center of his fiction has the sheen of Dickens but the epic levity of John Irving.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679753827
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/1994
  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 427,025
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Russo
Richard Russo in 1986. His novels The Risk Pool, Nobody’s Fool and Straight Man are available in Vintage paperback. He now lives in coastal Maine with his wife and their two daughters.

Biography

Prizewinning author Richard Russo is regarded by many critics as the best writer about small-town America since Sherwood Anderson and Sinclair Lewis. "He doesn't over-sentimentalize [small towns]," said Maureen Corrigan, the book critic for NPR's "Fresh Air." Nor does he belittle the dreams and hardships of his working-class characters. "I come from a blue-collar family myself and I think he gets the class interactions; he just really nails class in his novels," said Corrigan.

When Russo left his own native small town in upstate New York, it was with hopes of becoming a college professor. But during his graduate studies, he began to have second thoughts about the academic life. While finishing up his doctorate, he took a creative writing class; and a new career path opened in front of him.

Russo's first novel set the tone for much of his later work. The story of an ailing industrial town and the interwoven lives of its inhabitants, Mohawk won critical praise for its witty, engaging style. In subsequent books, he has brought us a dazzling cast of characters, mostly working-class men and women who are struggling with the problems of everyday life (poor health, unemployment, mounting bills, failed marriages) in dilapidated, claustrophobic burghs that have -- like their denizens -- seen better days. In 2001, Russo received the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls, a brilliant, tragicomic set-piece that explores past and present relationships in a once-thriving Maine town whose textile mill and shirt factory have gone bust.

Russo's vision of America would be bleak, except for the wit and optimism he infuses into his stories. Even when his characters are less than lovable, they are funny, rueful, and unfailingly human. "There's a version of myself that I still see in a kind of alternative universe and it's some small town in upstate New York or someplace like that," Russo said in an interview. That ability to envision himself in the bars and diners of small-town America has served him well. "After the last sentence is read, the reader continues to see Russo's tender, messed-up people coming out of doorways, lurching through life," said the fiction writer Annie Proulx. "And keeps on seeing them because they are as real as we are."

Good To Know

In 1994, Russo's book Nobody's Fool was made into a movie starring Paul Newman and Bruce Willis. Newman also starred in the 1998 movie Twilight, for which Russo wrote the screenplay. Russo now divides his time between writing fiction and writing for the movies.

When he wrote his first books, Russo was employed full-time as a college teacher, and would stop at the local diner between classes to work on his novels. After the success of Nobody's Fool (the book and the movie), he was able to quit teaching -- but he still likes to write in spots such as the Camden Deli. It's "a less lonely way to write," he told USA Today. "I'm less self-conscious when it's not so quiet."

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    1. Hometown:
      Gloversville, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 15, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Johnstown, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Arizona, 1967; Ph.D., University of Arizona, 1979; M.F.A., University of Arizona, 1980

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
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(11)

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    Artemis

    Nigh.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    Vanellope

    I'm back!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    Emelia

    A pale teenage girl with dark brown hair came in. Her blue eyes were huge. "May i join?"

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Josh

    May i join?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    May i join.

    A tall 14 year old girl asked.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    May i join?

    Where do i post her bio?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Bella

    Yeah bios in the second result im in the third result

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    ?

    Did we move to nigh or somethng i heard camp was at scarlet letter. I heard it was at nigh . WERE IS THE REAL CAMP?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    Chiron

    Huh thats weird

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  • Posted August 29, 2012

    Yuck. Good author, terrible book.

    Yuck. Good author, terrible book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The first russo!

    As a first novel, it was clear that Russo would be someone to watch. While I found the characters a bit difficult to keep straight initially, by the middle of the book, I couldn't put it down. I didn't love the characters as I have all of Russo's subsequent small town folks. The poignant tug on your heart as you follow along a total a-hole was missing. However, I still think it was a very good book and remarkable for a first novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2010

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    Posted September 20, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2009

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    Posted November 27, 2009

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