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Extended Audio Sample Straight Man, by Richard Russo Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (11,660 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Russo Narrator: Sam Freed Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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William Henry Devereaux, Jr., spiritually suited to playing left field but forced by a bad hamstring to try first base, is the unlikely chairman of the English department at West Central Pennsylvania University. Over the course of a single convoluted week, he threatens to execute a duck, has his nose slashed by a feminist poet, discovers that his secretary writes better fiction than he does, suspects his wife of having an affair with his dean, and finally confronts his philandering elderly father, the one-time king of American Literary Theory, at an abandoned amusement park.

Such is the canvas of Richard Russo's Straight Man, a novel of surpassing wit, poignancy, and insight. As he established in his previous books -- MohawkThe Risk Pool, and Nobody's Fool -- Russo is unique among contemporary authors for his ability to flawlessly capture the soul of the wise guy and the heart of a difficult parent. In Hank Devereaux, Russo has created a hero whose humor and identification with the absurd are mitigated only by his love for his family, friends, and, ultimately, knowledge itself.

Unforgettable, compassionate, and laugh-out-loud funny, Straight Man cements Richard Russo's reputation as one of the master storytellers of our time.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jocelyn | 2/19/2014

    " Highly recommend this book for academics. Moderately recommend for all others. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Matthew | 2/16/2014

    " I don't know that I've ever laughed harder at a book! My department adopted the motto W.W.H.D? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kappy | 2/9/2014

    " I have heard about this book for years. Most of my family has read it. I was somewhat disappointed in it. The characters were annoying, and although I presume the author intended for them to be annoying it became tiresome for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Vivek | 2/1/2014

    " Loved it, although not as much as Empire Falls. Russo's books always make me want to write. Loved the characters and the depiction of academics and professors. "

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