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'Everybody's Fool' by Richard Russo: EW review

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Everybody's Fool: A novel

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Richard Russo
publisher:
Knopf
genre:
Novel

We gave it a B+

Donald “Sully ” Sullivan was such a beloved incorrigible scamp in Richard Russo’s Nobody’s Fool—and portrayed so perfectly by Paul Newman in the 1994 film adaptation—that the title of this sequel provoked some concern. Rest assured, though, that Sully, now 10 years older, is better than okay. In fact, since his lottery trifecta came in, he’s been swimming in something he never really believed in: luck. But while good fortune has blessed him, his friends in the rotting upstate New York backwater of North Bath—like his hapless sidekick Rub and careless onetime boss Carl—are sinking. And some are going down faster than others, like police chief Doug Raymer, who stumbles into an open grave in what turns out to be only the beginning of a series of humiliations that yields the book’s title. Raymer was just a minor character in Nobody’s Fool, albeit one Sully loathed, but Russo trusts the reader to love him once they spend time inside his thick skull. Though the two profess to be lifelong adversaries, it turns out they’re really “brothers under the skin.” Russo isn’t as in tune with the female characters of North Bath, but his love for all its misfits sings with every line of whip-smart dialogue. For fans who’ve missed Sully and the gang, Everybody’s Fool is like hopping on the last empty barstool surrounded by old friends. B+