A New York Times 2016 Notable Book
An immediate national best seller and instant classic from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls. Richard Russo returns to North Bath—“a town where dishonesty abounds, everyone misapprehends everyone else and half the citizens are half-crazy” (The New York Times)—and the characters who made Nobody’s Fool a beloved choice of book clubs everywhere. Everybody’s Fool is classic Russo, filled with humor, heart, hard times, and people you can’t help but love, possibly because their various faults make them so human.
Everybody’s Fool picks up roughly a decade since we were last with Miss Beryl and Sully on New Year's Eve 1984. The irresistible Sully, who in the intervening years has come by some unexpected good fortune, is staring down a VA cardiologist’s estimate that he has only a year or two left, and it’s hard work trying to keep this news from the most important people in his life: Ruth, the married woman he carried on with for years . . . the ultra-hapless Rub Squeers, who worries that he and Sully aren’t still best friends . . . Sully’s son and grandson, for whom he was mostly an absentee figure (and now a regretful one). We also enjoy the company of Doug Raymer, the chief of police who’s obsessing primarily over the identity of the man his wife might’ve been about to run off with, before dying in a freak accident . . . Bath’s mayor, the former academic Gus Moynihan, whose wife problems are, if anything, even more pressing . . . and then there’s Carl Roebuck, whose lifelong run of failing upward might now come to ruin. And finally, there’s Charice Bond—a light at the end of the tunnel that is Chief Raymer’s office—as well as her brother, Jerome, who might well be the train barreling into the station.
A crowning achievement—“like hopping on the last empty barstool surrounded by old friends” (Entertainment Weekly)—from one of the greatest storytellers of our time.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
With Nobody's Fool, Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo introduced us to the residents of North Bath, who can't seem to shake their second-best status to neighboring Schuyler Springs. In Everybody’s Fool, we’re drawn into the stories of the upstate New York town’s increasingly unhinged police chief, Douglas Raymer, and Donald "Sully" Sullivan, a man facing a diagnosis that gives him two years to live. Both men are embroiled in at least one love triangle, pushing Russo’s novel toward hilarious madness—think runaway cobras, graveyard vandalism, and lightning strikes. This is the kind of comic novel that makes you want to pop a bowl of popcorn and spend the day reading.
When Doug Raymer, chief of police of the forlornly depressed town of North Bath, Maine, falls into an open grave during a funeral service, it is only the first of many farcical and grisly incidents in Russo's shaggy dog story of revenge and redemption. Among the comical set pieces that propel the narrative are a poisonous snakebite, a falling brick wall, and a stigmatalike hand injury. North Bath, as readers of Nobody's Fool will remember, is the home of Sully Sullivan, the hero of the previous book and also a character here. Self-conscious, self-deprecating, and convinced he's everybody's fool, Raymer is obsessed with finding the man his late wife was about to run off with when she fell down the stairs and died. He's convinced that the garage door opener he found in her car will lead him to her lover's home. Meanwhile, he pursues an old feud with Sully; engages in repartee with his clever assistant and her twin brother; and tries to arrest a sociopath whose preferred means of communication are his fists. The remaining circle of ne'er-do-wells, ex-cons, daily drunks, deadbeats, and thieves behave badly enough to keep readers chuckling. The give-and-take of rude but funny dialogue is Russo's trademark, as is his empathy for down-and-outers on the verge of financial calamity. He takes a few false steps, such as giving Raymer a little voice in his head named Dougie, but clever plot twists end the novel on lighthearted note. 250,000-copy announced first printing.
Disappointing. Fun to revisit the characters but far too wordy.
Wanted to love this book. Really bogged down in the middle. Many of the events were beyond the realm of possibility even for a small town. Way too many words of description used for unimportant aspects of minor characters. It was a slog to the finish.