#ThrowbackThursdayBookstagram: Empire Falls

Welcome back to our #ThrowbackThursdayBookstagram feature! I haven’t posted on this topic since late September, and I’m happy to be back. Up this week is Pulitzer Prize–winning EMPIRE FALLS by Richard Russo.

What’s interesting about this book is that I remember buying it at Borders Books in Ann Arbor on East Liberty Street (I still miss that place). I remember having the book sit on my shelf in a place of honor while I read it. I remember wondering if the book was truly worthy of winning the Pulitzer Prize (it was). And I remember enjoying the story. What I don’t remember is what the story is about.

Ergh. Sometimes my brain does that to me, and in instances like that, we go to the publisher for some help:

“Welcome to Empire Falls, a blue-collar town full of abandoned mills whose citizens surround themselves with the comforts and feuds provided by lifelong friends and neighbors and who find humor and hope in the most unlikely places . . .  Miles Roby has been slinging burgers at the Empire Grill for 20 years, a job that cost him his college education and much of his self-respect. What keeps him there? It could be his bright, sensitive daughter Tick, who needs all his help surviving the local high school. Or maybe it’s Janine, Miles’ soon-to-be ex-wife, who’s taken up with a noxiously vain health-club proprietor. Or perhaps it’s the imperious Francine Whiting, who owns everything in town—and seems to believe that “everything” includes Miles himself.”

I do remember thinking that if I were to write a character-driven novel, Russo would be the one to emulate. So if that’s you, go pick up this book. I hope you enjoy it.

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