The Whore's Child
By Richard Russo
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375726019, 240pp.)
Publication Date: July 8, 2003
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To this irresistible debut collection of short stories, Richard Russo brings the same bittersweet wit, deep knowledge of human nature, and spellbinding narrative gifts that distinguish his best-selling novels. His themes are the imperfect bargains of marriage; the discoveries and disillusionments of childhood;the unwinnable battles men and women insist on fighting with the past.
A cynical Hollywood moviemaker confronts his dead wife’s lover and abruptly realizes the depth of his own passion. As his parents’ marriage disintegrates, a precocious fifth-grader distracts himself with meditations on baseball, spaghetti, and his place in the universe. And in the title story, an elderly nun enters a college creative writing class and plays havoc with its tidy notions of fact and fiction. The Whore’s Child is further proof that Russo is one of the finest writers we have, unsparingly truthful yet hugely compassionate and capable of creating characters real that they seem to step off the page.
Richard Russo lives in coastal Maine with his wife and their two daughters. He has written five novels: Mohawk, The Risk Pool, Nobody’s Fool, Straight Man, and Empire Falls, and a collection of stories, The Whore’s Child.
“An author whose laid-back understatements can be as sharp as other writers’ boldest declarations….the architect of stories you can’t put down.” --The New York Times
“[Russo] has joined those writers who can be said to have coined their own universe…. [He] achieves an emotional balance through his humor and generosity of spirit.” --Chicago Sun-Times
“The most expansive of contemporary writers.” -- The New York Times Book Review
“Straightforward and engaging from the first page… Mr. Russo makes writing short stories seem effortless.” --Wall Street Journal
“These beautifully crafted stories, made more appealing by their rueful humor, are the work of a writer at the top of his game.” –New York Post
“Russo is a master of the small moment as nuclear explosion, the life-changing turn of the screw. His writing is unornate, but as authoritative (and cool) as marble. . . .The Whore’s Child is . . . powerful and moving.” –Atlanta Journal Constitution
“The vigorous comic voice that has always been Russo’s is a great leavening force here. . . . These stories are something to be grateful for.” –Newsday
“The Whore’s Child pulsate[s] with real life.” –The New Leader
“[Russo] stands alone as the Stendhal of blue-collar America.” –Esquire
“Russo again proves himself the master of real-life angst with the comic twist. His characters are sometimes funny, often sad, but never pathetic.” –Orlando Sentinel
“The Whore’s Child should solidify his reputation….All seven stories are lovely examples of Russo’s wit and compassion.” –Newark Sunday Star-Ledger