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Download Elsewhere: A memoir Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Elsewhere: A memoir Audiobook, by Richard Russo Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,898 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Russo Narrator: Richard Russo Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2012 ISBN: 9780449012529
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After eight commanding works of fiction, the Pulitzer Prize winner now turns to memoir in a hilarious, moving, and always surprising account of his life, his parents, and the upstate New York town they all struggled variously to escape.

Anyone familiar with Richard Russo’s acclaimed novels will recognize Gloversville once famous for producing that eponymous product and anything else made of leather. This is where the author grew up, the only son of an aspirant mother and a charming, feckless father who were born into this close-knit community. But by the time of his childhood in the 1950s, prosperity was inexorably being replaced by poverty and illness (often tannery-related), with everyone barely scraping by under a very low horizon.

A world elsewhere was the dream his mother instilled in Rick, and strived for herself, and their subsequent adventures and tribulations in achieving that goal, beautifully recounted here, were to prove lifelong, as would Gloversville’s fearsome grasp on them both. Fraught with the timeless dynamic of going home again, encompassing hopes and fears and the relentless tides of familial and individual complications, this story is arresting, comic, heartbreaking, and truly beautiful, an immediate classic.

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Quotes & Awards

  • It’s rare for a novelist to write candidly about the real behind the imagined. About a lifetime of work and the very person who inspired it. Yet that is precisely what Richard Russo has done in his memoir.... Redemption is always the prize in a Russo story. Nowhere do we see that more clearly than in Elsewhere, a brave little book in which a writer spins deprivation into advantage, suffering into wisdom, and a broken mother into a muse. Wanting him to be anywhere but Gloversville, Jean Russo did everything she could to make her son leave. And then, unable to feel whole anywhere outside it, she eventually brought him home. Marie Arana, The Washington Post
  • Intimate and powerful...an impeccably told tale. Julia M. Klein, Chicago Tribune
  • A gorgeously nuanced memoir about Russo’s mother and his own lifelong tour of duty spent—lovingly and exhaustedly—looking out for her. . . . Russo is the Bruce Springsteen of novelists . . . in a paragraph or even a phrase, he can summon up a whole world, and the world he writes most poignantly about is that of the industrial white working class. Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air
  • Filled with insights, by turn tender and tough, about human fidelity, frailty, forbearance, and fortitude. Glenn C. Altschuler, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Moving and darkly funny. . . Russo mines grace from his gritty hometown [and] the greatest charm of this memoir lies in the absences of self-pity and pretension in his take on his own history. Amy Finnerty, The Wall Street Journal
  • Heartfelt and generous. Tricia Springstubb, Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • One of the most honest, moving American memoirs in years... Russo's straightforward writing style is even more effective in Elsewhere [and his] intellectual and emotional honesty are remarkable. Michael Schaub, NPR.org
  • Rich and layered... an honest book about a universal subject: those familial bonds that only get trickier with time. Kevin Canfield, Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Russo conjures the incredible bond between single mother and only child in a way that makes his story particularly powerful. Nicholas Mancusi, The Daily Beast
  • Russo brings the same clear-eyed humanism that marks his fiction to this by turns funny and moving portrait of his mother and her never-ending quest to escape the provincial confines of their hometown. Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
  • An affecting yet never saccharine glimpse of the relationship among place, family and fiction. Kirkus
  • “Moving and darkly funny.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Intimate and powerful…An impeccably told tale.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Filled with insights, by turn tender and tough, about human fidelity, frailty, forbearance, and fortitude.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “Heartfelt and generous.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”, November 2012
  • A 2012 Washington Post Notable Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2012 NPR Best Book for Nonfiction
  • Selected for the November 2012 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deandrea | 2/11/2014

    " Great memoir. Lots to think abut in here. Glad the mom turns out be crazier than I am -- I was alittle afraid when I read the overview.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jsarno49 | 2/9/2014

    " I loved this book, but perhaps because it tells the story of the town where I was born, the life in the glove factories that dominated my childhood, and the close relationship between Russo and his mother. Russo and I were born in the same year and grew up in neighboring towns in Fulton County, NY. His memoir focuses on his and his mother's escape from Gloversville and his constant caring for his mother who suffered from mental illness. Russo is a very gifted writer. I will be interested to read reviews of this book by those less familiar with the setting and the sense of needing to escape. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Henderhouse | 2/8/2014

    " The maxim holds: the truth is stranger -- and often sadder -- than fiction. I am a fan of Richard Russo's novels, which often feature very flawed men letting down the women in their lives. His stories include some sorrow, a great deal humor, and always a flame of hope. Russo's own story is one of a more serious struggle with a mother who was always feeling more than just let down -- betrayed, really -- by the primary man in her life, Russo. The story of how they spent a lifetime together is frustrating and fascinating. Readers never learn the "why" of Russo's patient machinations -- and later those of his wife and children -- to find a suitable spot in life for his mother. It can be frustrating to watch the true insanity of people doing the same things over and over and over again with the same result. And yet, it's a testament to Russo's skills as a storyteller that the reader just sticks with it. Either we're sharing Russo's maddening hope that this will make her happy. Or we're watching in anticipation and a little horror for the impending trainwreck. (BTW: I listened to the audiobook version, which is narrated by Russo, which adds to overall memoir experience, IMHO) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Staci | 2/8/2014

    " Interesting look into living with someone with mental illness. I've never read anything by Russo before (didn't read this either, rather listened to it on CD), but I am now looking forward to reading his fictional works. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan | 2/8/2014

    " I enjoy Russo's fiction which is clearly based on his life but his memoirs lacks. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 1/29/2014

    " Having been a big Russo fan, I had originally expected to see more character development of his mom. However, this isn't a novel and no one can know what is completely going on in another person's mind. This could be a very depressing story, but Russo's tongue in cheek humor lightens the story and makes it seem more real. I enjoyed reading about growing up in Gloversville- it has certainly set the tone of many of Russo's books. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nora | 1/29/2014

    " I love Richard Russo, but I did not like this book. It was basically a long therapy session about his mother. I thought the book would be more of a memoir and instead it was completely about his relationship with his mom. Very odd and disappointing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clewis53 | 1/22/2014

    " Excellent writing. Story got soooo repetitive. Russo could teach a class on how to be completely in denial and codependent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debby | 1/18/2014

    " One more time Richard Russo through the story of his mother helps me to understand my mother better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 1/15/2014

    " Sad, but Russo does a very good job self-analyzing his relationship with his mother, and his mother's psyche. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 12/31/2013

    " I've never read a novel by Russo, but found this memoir about his mother riveting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan Janks | 10/14/2013

    " Interesting and entertaining book by a favorite author of mine. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison | 10/10/2013

    " I do enjoy Richard Russo's writing, and not only because he's more upstate NY than I was. This is a memoir about his identity as a writer, as well as an homage to his mom, and his struggles and responsibility, real and imagined for her and her well being. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Odoublegood | 8/23/2013

    " looking back from a current perspective at Gloversville, Tucson, Phoenix, and other places (and people, too) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 James Asante | 8/10/2013

    " Insightful and painful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 5/14/2013

    " Think you have a demanding mother? Well, read this memoir then re-evaluate. Suffice it to say that the author's mom was breathtakingly difficult. This book is an outstanding, hilarious, can't-believe-it, and quick account of Russo's life with her. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary L. | 4/6/2013

    " I am a great fan of Richard Russo but I must admit a life his fiction better than this memoir. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dana Booth | 4/2/2013

    " Interesting, but a bit of a slog. This memoir is really more a memoir of Russo's mother and his relationship with her. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phemie London | 4/1/2013

    " Richard Russo is one of my favourite authors. I really enjoyed his surprising account of his lifelong stuggle to care for his "off the wall" mother who thought of the two of them as one entity. Well written and quite funny. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Missy | 2/26/2013

    " how can I not love something about a guy from my hometown succeeding even if the road was not perfect. . "

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About the Author
Author Richard Russo

Richard Russo is the author of eight novels, two short-story collections, and the memoir Elsewhere. In 2002 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls which, like Nobody’s Fool, was adapted to film, in a multiple-award-winning HBO miniseries.