Empire Falls (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Nov 9, 2011 - Fiction - 496 pages
1562 Reviews
Richard Russo—from his first novel, Mohawk, to his most recent, Straight Man—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 poor alike. 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.


From the Hardcover edition.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
508
4 stars
554
3 stars
320
2 stars
135
1 star
45

Incredible prose, average plot. - Goodreads
So not a fan of the writing style. - Goodreads
Fantastic storytelling. - Goodreads
Wonderful characters, nice imagery. - Goodreads
The ending was a bit strange and not very satisfying. - Goodreads
Easy to read and very interesting characters. - Goodreads

Review: Empire Falls

User Review  - Jen - Goodreads

I absolutely loved this book about life in a small town. The characters were so well-written and I just fell in love with them. I couldn't put this one down. Read full review

Review: Empire Falls

User Review  - Blaine DeSantis - Goodreads

Outstanding book. Have been waiting for a few years to read it. Saw the HBO mini-series and so I gave it time before reading the book. What a great read. Russo is able to put us right in the middle of ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
Section 2
19
Section 3
44
Section 4
64
Section 5
72
Section 6
84
Section 7
101
Section 8
122
Section 19
296
Section 20
307
Section 21
317
Section 22
332
Section 23
342
Section 24
355
Section 25
374
Section 26
381

Section 9
133
Section 10
152
Section 11
176
Section 12
191
Section 13
198
Section 14
219
Section 15
230
Section 16
252
Section 17
267
Section 18
280
Section 27
389
Section 28
400
Section 29
414
Section 30
422
Section 31
437
Section 32
448
Section 33
456
Section 34
474
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

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


From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information