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Publisher Description

Hilarious and true-to-life, witty, compassionate, and impossible to put down, Straight Man follows Hank Devereaux through one very bad week in this novel from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo.
William Henry Devereaux, Jr., is the reluctant chairman of the English department of a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt.  Devereaux's reluctance is partly rooted in his character--he is a born anarchist--and partly in the fact that his department is more savagely divided than the Balkans.  

In the course of a single week, Devereaux will have his nose mangled by an angry colleague, imagine his wife is having an affair with his dean, wonder if a curvaceous adjunct is trying to seduce him with peach pits, and threaten to execute a goose on local television.  All this while coming to terms with his philandering father, the dereliction of his youthful promise, and the ominous failure of certain vital body functions.  In short, Straight Man is classic Russo—side-splitting, poignant, compassionate, and unforgettable.

Fiction & Literature
June 9
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

Auntnewtie ,

My favorite Richard Russo so far

I have read several of Mr. Russo's novels. This was absolutely my favorite. A great read, funny and poignant. I hated it to end. Highly recommend.

Emmet Aloysius ,

Enjoyable Read

I enjoy books in academic settings and Straight Man is just a good story to read and enjoy. Russo creates interesting characters who you become involved with & actually care how they turn out, unlike many fiction books...EAF

DrKate aka The Rock Doctor ,

In My Top 20

"Straight Man" is my personal favorite by Richard Russo and ranks among my very favorite books of all time. I'm astounded a reviewer found it lacking, but I can surmise the person who wrote the review is quite young. After pondering it for a bit, I do see how Mr Russo's wit appeals better to those who've experienced the ups and downs of mature relationships, a mid-career crisis or two, and a viewpoint tarnished by having lived long enough to figure out that things rarely turn out at 40 or 50 or 60 as we had planned when we were 20. This truly is laugh-out-loud hilarious but with a poignancy that touched my heart. For those who've been around the block of life a few times, you will surely enjoy every page of "Straight Man."

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