Roscoe (Paperback)

By William Kennedy

Penguin Books, 9780142001738, 291pp.

Publication Date: November 26, 2002



The first novel from William Kennedy in more than five years and universally acclaimed as his most powerful work since the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ironweed, Roscoe shows Kennedy at his very best. It's V-J Day, the war is over, and Roscoe Conway, after twenty-six years as the second in command of Albany's notorious political machine, decides to quit politics forever. But there's no way out, and only his Machiavellian imagination can help him cope with the erupting disasters. Every step leads back to the past-to the early loss of his true love, the takeover of city hall, the machine's fight with FDR and Al Smith to elect a governor, and the methodical assassination of gangster Jack "Legs" Diamond. "Thick with crime, passion, and backroom banter" (The New Yorker), Roscoe is an odyssey of great scope and linguistic verve, a deadly, comic masterpiece from one of America's most important writers.

About the Author

William Kennedy was born and raised in Albany, New York. He began his writing career as a journalist, and his novels have been translated into two dozen languages. His novel Ironweed won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

Praise For Roscoe

"Driven by a narrative electricity as alive as post-war America. Roscoe is Kennedy's finest novel since Ironweed." —The Boston Globe

"This is a novel that, as they say, has it all.... Kennedy is a writer with something to say, about matters that touch us all, and he does it with uncommon artistry." —Michael Thomas, The Washington Post

"A beaut, deadly serious high comedy propelled by soaring flights of linguistic legerdemain." —Ward Just, The New York Times Book Review

"This new book has a lyricism and a gusto rarely achieved in serious American novels about politics.... Roscoe may, in fact, be Kennedy's greatest." —Tom Mallon, The Atlantic Monthly

"An exuberant portrait of political and sexual intrigue. Its politics are backroom and bare-knuckle, all about power and money." —USA Today

"William Kennedy writes so melodiously about the Irish ruffians of old Albany, NY he could make Philip Roth wish he were Catholic." —San Francisco Chronicle