Authors: Richard Russo
Jeff Colquhoun and Kate Russo for their expertise, to Judith Weber, Alison Samuel and Emily Russo for their close, insightful readings. Special thanks to Barbara, my wife, who is always my first reader and often my last after I can no longer bear to look. Nat Sobel has made every single one of my books better, but he absolutely saved this one. And thanks for table space to the following: the Camden Deli, Fitzpatrick’s Café, Zoot and Boynton-McKay. And, finally, thanks to Donald Sweet for a great class, years ago, on Langston Hughes.
BRIDGE OF SIGHS
Louis Charles Lynch (known as Lucy) is sixty years old and has lived in Thomaston, New York, his entire life. Lucy’s oldest friend, once a rival for his wife’s affection, leads a life in Venice far from Thomaston. Lucy writes the story of his town, his family, and his own life, interspersed with that of the native son who left so long ago and never looked back.
Mohawk, New York, is one of those small towns that lie almost entirely on the wrong side of the tracks. Dallas Younger, a star athlete in high school, now drifts from tavern to poker game, while his ex-wife, Anne, is stuck in a losing battle with her moth-er over the care of her sick father. Richard Russo explores these lives with profound compassion and flint-hard wit.
follows the unexpected operation of grace in the life of an unlucky man, Sully, who has been triumphantly doing the wrong thing for fifty years. Divorced and carrying on with another man’s wife, saddled with a bum knee and friends who make enemies redundant, Sully now has a new problem: a son who is in danger of following in his father’s footsteps. With humor and a heart that embraces humanity’s follies, this is storytelling at its most generous.
THE RISK POOL
Ned Hall is doing his best to grow up, even though neither of his estranged parents can properly be called adult. His father, Sam, cultivates bad habits so assiduously that he is stuck at the bottom of his auto insurance risk pool. His mother, Jenny, is slowly going crazy from resentment at a husband who refuses either to stay or to stay away. As Ned veers between allegiances to these grossly inadequate role models, Russo gives us a book that overflows with outsized characters and outlandish predicaments.
William Henry Devereaux, Jr., is the reluctant chair of the English department at an underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt. In the course of a week, Devereaux will have his nose mangled by an angry colleague, imagine his wife is having an affair with the dean, wonder if an adjunct is trying to seduce him with peach pits, and threaten to execute a goose on local television. At the same time, he must come to terms with the dereliction of his youthful promise and the ominous failure of certain vital body functions. In short,
is classic Russo—side-splitting, true-to-life, and impossible to put down.
THAT OLD CAPE MAGIC
It’s a perfectly lovely wedding weekend on the Cape, but for Griffin, the middle-aged father of the bride, it marks the beginning of his descent into a failed marriage, a confrontation with his parents’ deaths, and the realization that his life does not measure up to the life he thought he wanted. With moments of great comedy alternating with ones of rueful understanding,
That Old Cape Magic
is unlike anything Richard Russo has ever written.
THE WHORE’S CHILD
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. 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.
Available at your local bookstore, or visit
THIS IS A BORZOI BOOK
PUBLISHED BY ALFRED A. KNOPF
Copyright © 2007 by Richard Russo
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.
Knopf, Borzoi Books, and the colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission to reprint previously published material:
Alfred A. Knopf: Excerpt from “Hope ” from
The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes,
edited by Arnold Rampersad with David Roessel, Associate Editor, copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC and Faber and Faber Ltd.: Excerpt from “This Be the Verse” from
by Philip Larkin, copyright © 1988, 2003 by The Estate of Philip Larkin. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC and Faber and Faber Ltd.
Ray Charles Enterprises, Inc.: Excerpts from “Hit the Road Jack” by Percy Mayfield, copyright © by Tangerine Music Corp. Reprinted by permission of Ray Charles Enterprises, Inc., by arrangement with the Ray Charles Marketing Group.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Russo, Richard, date.
Bridge of sighs / Richard Russo.—1st ed.
1. City and town life—Fiction. 2. New York (State)—Fiction. 3. Italy—Fiction. 4. Friendship—Fiction. 5. Lifestyles—Fiction. I. Title.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.