June 11, 2016

Not Surprising, Most of Richard Russo’s Fools are Men

Everybody’s Fool is the follow-up to Nobody’s Fool, Russo’s 1994 portrait of Donald Sullivan and life in North Bath, New York––a fictional community that is a compilation of Gloversville, where Russo grew up, and Ballston Spa, Saratoga Spring’s step sister. Sully is older now and has been told he needs a defibrillator. He’s also come into some money––his trifecta paid off more than once, then his high school English teacher left her house to him. Unable to work his usual jobs and not needing the money, he pays less attention to his sidekick Rub than the latter would prefer, but still ends most days on a bar stool in his favorite watering hole. While Sully was “nobody’s fool” in the […]
August 10, 2013

Toward Civic Integrity, A Book Review

This column was first published September 30, 2010 on  the Empire Page website. After more than six years of haggling, the final hurdles were recently overcome for the construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter within the city limits of Gloversville in Fulton County in upstate New York. While Gloversville City Court Judge Vincent DeSantis, author of “Towards Civic Integrity; Re-establishing the Micropolis,” (2007) understands the motives of the public officials who pushed the project through, he believes that this is exactly the wrong kind of development that’s needed for cities like Gloversville to function successfully in the 21st century. In his self-published extended essay, Judge DeSantis chronicles oft-repeated accusations against Wal-Mart centered communities. In addition to the charge that they drive […]
August 10, 2013

It happened in Gloversville; a review of Richard Russo’s Elsewhere

Disclosure: I grew up in the city of Gloversville in upstate New York where Richard Russo–-six years my junior–-was born and raised and which plays a major role in this family memoir. A number of my Gloversville friends who read Elsewhere expressed disappointment and even anger over Richard Russo’s treatment of the city of their youth in his family memoir. Reflecting on the Prologue, which is a shorter version of a piece published by Granta, the British literary magazine in 2010, they feel Russo focused on the negative side of the glove industry and ignored the benefits which accrued to the community, such as inexpensive housing, better than decent schools, public parks and recreation, a high number of doctors per […]
March 12, 2012

I Agree and Disagree with Richard Russo

Upon his return to Tucson, AZ to participate in the 4th annual Tucson Festival of Books March 10-11, 2012, Richard Russo recalled spending many hours in room 350 in the Modern Languages building where his first TFB presentation was held and where he recalled only a small audience turned out to hear Richard Yates read one of his brilliant short stories. (Russo would later write the introduction to Yates’ collected stories.) Russo spent 13 years getting a B.A., M.A. & Ph.D. at the University of Arizona before moving on to teach and then to begin writing fiction. His observations Saturday March 10 on writing and his particular focus were insightful, but the most interesting and controversial comments he made that […]