If you read my last blog you know that I listed my ten favorite books and said I would explain why each book is on my list. I’ll start with Risk Pool by Richard Russo. I picked it because is it is so funny and because Russo apparently met my father. Obviously he didn’t but the lead character, Sam Hall, and my father are so close in temperament they might as well have been the same person.
Russo is a master of character development. Sam Hill jumps off the page and grabs you by the neck. If you read Russo’s Nobody’s Fool, Sully and Sam Hill are kindred spirits. Both books are very funny and are classic men from upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, crusty old farts who don’t quite fit in today’s world.
I’ve read everything Russo has had published. I seek out his new projects. He is funny, insightful, profound and most importantly, readable. No tricks, just straight forward, clean narratives.
If you’ve never read him before, start with Whore’s Child a short story in a collection of his stories with that title. If you grew up Roman Catholic, as I did, the book is a treat. I believe the story is also included in the 2007 Best American Short Stories.