1 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
December 8, 2003
Richard Russo can be a great writer, as "
For anyone who really enjoyed "Straight Man", this collection of stories is great. Those who have little interest in aged professors with no REAL problems whining are better advised to stay away from this book. I definitely fall into the latter category.
In terms of the stories, I thought the title piece would have made a better novella or novel than a short story. The problem is that the tale of the nun is told second-hand when allowing the reader to actually read her story would better allow us to experience the story and to be moved by it as her classmates and professor were. The constraints of the short story do not allow me to get involved with Sister Ursula, so that I never really care about her.
"The Farther You Go", "Buoyancy", and "Poison" all follow along the similar line of an older married guy in a stale marriage on an island in
Most of Russo's writing is good as usual, but one sentence from "Joyride" is one of the worst I have ever seen in print. It reads: "My throat constricted with the knowledge of who I was and what." Try reading that aloud; the "and what" makes no sense at the end of a sentence. "What" at the end almost implies a question, not a statement. At the very least, to end with "what" sounds incomplete, like there should be more there. The better sentence would have been "who and what I was". I can't believe an editor didn't correct that sentence; it's positively awful.
Anyway, except for "Linwood Hart" and "Joyride" (which has its moments), this collection of short stories holds little interest for those not experiencing a mid-life crisis. This attempt to cash in on the success of "