Friday, January 20, 2012
A feature of small town life is that it is hard to get away from someone who wants to keep tabs on you. The relationship of one who wants nothing more than to be ignored by another and the one who refuses to ignore is played out again and again in the novel. Take, for instance, the small town cop and the man he insists was his friend in high school. Or the high school loser and the cop's son. And even the millionaire and the woman who seduced her husband. These are only a sampling of the complicated, one-sided relationships that Russo explores.
Empire Falls won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize. The Corrections by Jonathan Frazen was a finalist that year. Like The Corrections, Empire Falls explores the dynamics of dysfunctional families. In The Corrections, the siblings are more interesting because their choices and situations are outrageous, while still remotely believable. In Empire Falls the relationships within the families are more predictable and possibly more realistic, and the added characters from the town give the story a wider focus. Overall, I preferred The Corrections, but Russo's story is also very good, and probably worthy of The Prize.
In Breaking News. . . Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the movie, opened today. I'm not sure if I will see it tonight or tomorrow, but by the end of this weekend you'll have a full report.
Next up on CD: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. This is another Pulitzer Prize winner. I'm looking forward to getting started on it!
Still Reading: This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman