After a while you begin to wish you lived in Richard Russo's world.
The author has never been funnier. It is a testament to Russo's skill and originality that Straight Man often seems as fresh as if it were the first of its sort.
Sentence by sentence Richard Russo shows that his is an eminently accomplished comic talent.
A funny and clever novel.
Times Literary Supplement
I loved Richard Russo's Pulitzer-winning Empire Falls, a moving, brilliantly imagined and intensely satisfying novel about the slow death of a small town: Russo's characters are as loveable and as exasperating as family.Nick Hornby
Like Anne Tyler, Russo is interested in how people rub along; in kindness and responsibility; in cutting slack without being asked. In the Empire Grill he has created a place so involving that not only can you see and smell it, but you start to feel a bit left out of the gin rummy. Russo makes an enormous job of story-telling look effortless. He is, in all the best senses of the word, a natural.
Richard Russo can write like Edith Wharton leavened with a touch of David Lodge.
Russo's command of his story is unerring... He satisfies every expectation without lapsing into predictability, and the last section of the book explodes with surprises...One of the best novelists around.
New York Times
If Russo's books possessed only their big-hearted, endlessly revisitable characters, that would be enough. That they also possess belting story lines about broken families, comically recalcitrant pensioners, small-town decay and the indelibility of roots sometimes seems like an act of unparalleled literary generosity.
Perhaps if it was pointed out that here was a US writer who stood somewhere between Anne Tyler at her darkest and Russell Banks, with an occasional hint of Richard Ford at his least bleak, perhaps Russo would become as widely read as he deserves to be.
No one writing today catches the detail of life with such stunning accuracy.Annie Proulx
Charms readers with its humour and refreshes with its vast, Dickensian cast of characters.
Russo proves himself a master at evoking the sights, feelings and smells of a town... Superbly original and maliciously funny.
New York Times Book Review