|Click to buy the book|
I have previously reviewed 'Empire Fall's' so when I began to read 'Straight Man', I knew what to expect. Again, Richard Russo let us follow the main character first hand. The book is written in first person and gives us an entertaining insight into the main character, William Henry Devereaux Jr.'s thoughts and speculations. And believe me - he's certainly in trouble ...
William Henry Devereaux Jr. is the son of parents who both have had high academical positions and it has obviously taken its toll. He has a good sense of the morbid and ironic, and his humor forces him time and again into relatively innocent situations that quickly develops in an unpredictable and uncontrollable way.
We follow the power struggle in English Department, where William Henry Devereaux Jr., among other things teaches English literature. The action takes place over a relatively short period of approximately fourteen days, which is more than enough to bring our protagonist in the most unlikely and more or less involuntary situations.
'Straight Man' is not a decidedly humorous book. There are plenty of seriousness and reflection in it - and that is what makes the book so interesting and entertaining.
Is it a thriller? No! Is that a crime? No! Is it a love story? Not really. 'Straight Man' is a fabulous story about life at an university and the people who work there. Does that sound boring? Maybe, but believe me: Richard Russo is the magician who is able to transform the gray and boring into something colorful and exuberant. And with 'Straight Man' Richard Russo is very close to perfection.
N.B. If you like to write yourself, 'Straight Man' makes you want to continue and succeed. This story renewed my desire to write, and I am sure the same thing will happen to you.