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Authors: Richard Russo

Empire Falls

BOOK: Empire Falls
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Acclaim for Richard Russo’s

“Not one wrong note.… Russo demonstrates a stunning ability for nailing the essentials of character and atmosphere.”


“Immensely satisfying.… [Russo is] an unpretentious master of fictional technique whose deeper wisdom expresses itself in the distinctive fallibility, decency, humor, and grace of the indisputably, irresistibly real people he puts on the page.”

The Boston Globe

“The kind of big, sprawling, leisurely novel, full of subplots and vividly drawn secondary characters, that people are always complaining is an endangered species. Yet in part thanks to Russo’s deft satiric touch—much of the book is laugh-out-loud funny—it never feels too slow or old-fashioned.”


“Russo’s most assured novel yet.…
Empire Falls
makes you wish you’d stayed in that small town you grew up in.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“[Russo is] one of the best novelists around.… As the pace quickens and the disparate threads of the narrative draw tighter, you find yourself torn between the desire to rush ahead and the impulse to slow down.”

The New York Times Book Review

Empire Falls
resonates so deeply is a measure of its unexpected truths.… Richly satisfying.”

The Washington Post Book World

“A rare novel, thoughtful and entertaining.”

USA Today

“Engaging.… Russo’s unique talent is his way of yoking wry humor to serious sadness, and rollicking entertainment to social commentary.”

The Plain Dealer

Richard Russo

Richard Russo lives in coastal Maine with his wife and their two daughters. He has written five novels:
Mohawk, The Risk Pool, Nobody’s Fool, Straight Man
, and
Empire Falls
, and a collection of stories,
The Whore’s Child

Also by Richard Russo
The Risk Pool
Nobody’s Fool
Straight Man
The Whore’s Child and Other Stories


2001 by Richard Russo

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. Originally published in hardcover in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, in 2001.

Vintage is a registered trademark and Vintage Contemporaries and colophon are trademarks of Random House, Inc.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following for permission to reprint previously published material:
Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.:
Excerpts from “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes” by Slim
Willet, copyright © 1952, copyright renewed 1980 by Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. All rights reserved. International rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.
Famous Music Corporation and Hal Leonard Corporation:
Excerpt from “Magic Moments,” music by Burt Bacharach and lyrics by Hal David, copyright © 1957, copyright renewed 1985 by Famous Music Corporation and Casa David. International copyright secured. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Famous Music Corporation and Hal Leonard Corporation on behalf of Casa David.
Music Sales Corporation
The Estate of Dick Manning:
Excerpt from “Hot Diggity,” words and music by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning, copyright © 1956 (copyright renewed) by Al Hoffman Songs, Inc. (ASCAP) and the Dick Manning Music Company. All rights for Al Hoffman Songs, Inc., administered by Music Sales Corporation (ASCAP). All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Reprinted by permission of Music Sales Corporation and the Estate of Dick Manning.

The Library of Congress has cataloged the Knopf edition as follows:
Russo, Richard, 1949–
Empire falls : a novel / Richard Russo.—1st ed.
p. cm.
eISBN: 978-0-307-80988-9
1. Restaurants—Fiction. 2. Restaurateurs—Fiction. 3. Working class—Fiction.
4. Fathers and daughters—Fiction. 5. Maine—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3568.U812 E4 2001b
813′.54—dc21 2001088568

Author photograph
J. D. Sloan


For Robert Benton



About the Author

Other Books by This Author

Title Page





Part One

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8

Part Two

Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14

Part Three

Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22

Part Four

Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32



my debts are substantial. For space, I wish to thank Fitzpatrick’s Cafe, the Camden Deli, and Jorgenson’s. Thanks also to Perley Sasuclark, who told me a story I needed to hear, and to Allen Pullen at the Open Hearth, who reeducated me about restaurants. To Gary Fisketjon, who has labored over this manuscript so lovingly, I’d attempt to describe my gratitude in words, but then he’d have to edit them, and he’s worked too hard already. To Nat Sobel and Judith Weber, who have been with me from the start, my love. To my wife, Barbara, who reads each book more times than anyone should have to read anything, more love. To my daughters, Emily and Kate, who have been the kind of girls, and now, young women, who have freed their father to worry about people who don’t exist outside his imagination, more gratitude than I can express; this time, to Kate especially, for reminding me by means of concrete detail just how horrible high school can be, and how lucky we all are to escape more or less intact.


BOOK: Empire Falls
7.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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