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Extended Audio Sample The Whores Child: Stories 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 (1,817 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Russo Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2011 ISBN: 9780307967428
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Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his best-selling Empire Falls—also named the year’s best novel by Time—Richard Russo now focuses, in his first book of short fiction, on a fresh and fascinating range of human behavior. With a fluency of tone that will surprise even his devoted readers, he captures both bewildering horror and heartrending tenderness with an absorbing, compassionate authority. 

We warm to these newcomers—as to all Russo’s characters—almost despite ourselves. A jaded Hollywood moviemaker uncovers a decades-old flame he never knew he’d harbored. A precocious fifth grader puzzles over life, love and baseball as he watches his parents’ marriage dissolve. Another child is forced into a harrowing cross-country escape whose actual purpose he learns only after the fact. An elderly couple rediscovers the power, and the misery, of their relationship during a long-awaited retreat to a resort island. And in the title story, a septuagenarian nun invades the narrator’s college writing workshop with an incredible saga.

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Quotes & Awards

  • [Russo] has joined those writers who can be said to have coined their own universe…. [He] achieves an emotional balance through his humor and generosity of spirit. Chicago Sun-Times
  • The most expansive of contemporary writers. The New York Times Book Review
  • Straightforward and engaging from the first page… Mr. Russo makes writing short stories seem effortless. Wall Street Journal
  • These beautifully crafted stories, made more appealing by their rueful humor, are the work of a writer at the top of his game. New York Post
  • An author whose laid-back understatements can be as sharp as other writers’ boldest declarations….the architect of stories you can’t put down. The New York Times
  • [Russo] has joined those writers who can be said to have coined their own universe…. [He] achieves an emotional balance through his humor and generosity of spirit. Chicago Sun-Times
  • The most expansive of contemporary writers. The New York Times Book Review
  • Straightforward and engaging from the first page… Mr. Russo makes writing short stories seem effortless. Wall Street Journal
  • These beautifully crafted stories, made more appealing by their rueful humor, are the work of a writer at the top of his game. New York Post
  • Russo is a master of the small moment as nuclear explosion, the life-changing turn of the screw. His writing is unornate, but as authoritative (and cool) as marble. . . .The Whore’s Child is . . . powerful and moving. Atlanta Journal Constitution
  • The vigorous comic voice that has always been Russo’s is a great leavening force here. . . . These stories are something to be grateful for. Newsday
  • The Whore’s Child pulsate[s] with real life. The New Leader
  • [Russo] stands alone as the Stendhal of blue-collar America. Esquire
  • Russo again proves himself the master of real-life angst with the comic twist. His characters are sometimes funny, often sad, but never pathetic. Orlando Sentinel
  • The Whore’s Child should solidify his reputation….All seven stories are lovely examples of Russo’s wit and compassion. Newark Sunday Star-Ledger
  • Russo is a master of the small moment as nuclear explosion, the life-changing turn of the screw. His writing is unornate, but as authoritative (and cool) as marble. . . .The Whore’s Child is . . . powerful and moving. Atlanta Journal Constitution
  • The vigorous comic voice that has always been Russo’s is a great leavening force here. . . . These stories are something to be grateful for. Newsday
  • The Whore’s Child pulsate[s] with real life. The New Leader
  • Russo again proves himself the master of real-life angst with the comic twist. His characters are sometimes funny, often sad, but never pathetic. Orlando Sentinel
  • The Whore’s Child should solidify his reputation….All seven stories are lovely examples of Russo’s wit and compassion. Newark Sunday Star-Ledger
  • An author whose laid-back understatements can be as sharp as other writers’ boldest declarations….the architect of stories you can’t put down. The New York Times

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 2/14/2014

    " This was a good read; ordinarily, I don't enjoy short stories, but this author never disappoints. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 megan | 2/13/2014

    " A collection of five short stories written by Richard Russo--I enjoyed reading those although a majority of them are told from the kind of annoying perspective of middle-aged men who are at odds with aspects of their life. I mean, who isn't, right? But still--it was often hard to be empathetic. Maybe my own fatal flaw that I have to like the characters to like the book... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sunny Shore | 2/3/2014

    " Richard Russo is the great author of Empire Falls, but everything else I've read from him has fallen short. Some of these stories are worthwhile, but most were about the same thing: a 50 year old man, his wife or his ex-wife, his children, his sexual thoughts, taking a trip...most are writers or professors. Most of the stories are about Richard Russo. That can get tiresome. I was going to read highly acclaimed Bridge of Sighs by him, but that was his last chance with me. He could never top Empire Falls, sorry, but not everyone writes even one masterpiece in his life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deidre | 1/26/2014

    " I zipped through this book of stories and I like the Russo I find here. Better than the last two novels, for sure. Much more like Empire Falls and Straight Man, with some of the same characters from those books reappearing. Though not all the stories gripped me, the collection as a whole is even. Really liked the title tale and Poison especially. One thing I'll say about Russo: the man knows how to finish. So many writers don't know how to stop, but Russo always gives good climax. "

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

    " Short stoy collection was good, but I miss the in-depth I get from his novels. All stories were well crafted and well told. I like the simplicity-- the story's revolve on characters, not plot. Stories were: The Whore's Child, Monhegan Light, The Farther You Go, Joy Ride, Buoyancy, Poison and The Mysteries of Linwood Hart "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandy | 1/18/2014

    " A good collection of short stories. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tinytextiles | 1/12/2014

    " These are short stories by the well known author, Richard Ruso whose full length stories I have enjoyed. But the stories do not have fully drawn characters---a fault of using the short story for what might have been a good tale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine | 1/11/2014

    " Um, I learned a lot about middle-aged men dating younger women and being writers. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bridgit | 1/10/2014

    " Wonderful wonderful stories. Beautiful moments. Yes, yes and yes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doneen | 1/7/2014

    " Nice collection of short stories. I'd read anything this author writes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurel | 12/31/2013

    " A great collection of short stories and wonderful characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karla | 12/27/2013

    " A book of short stories. I really enjoyed most all of the stories. I have read several books by Richard Russo and enjoyed all of them. I suggest you give it a try. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally | 11/29/2013

    " Short stories. If this is an accurate sampling of Russo's writing style, I'll read more. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 11/27/2013

    " One of my first book of short stories.Very interesting (my favorite review, haha). Need to try his pulitzer prize winner Empire Falls... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elaine | 11/20/2013

    " I enjoyed the title story and the last one, "The Mysteries of Linwood Hart", the best. The middle stories were all very similar in tone and setting and even now are beginning to blur together for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steven | 7/18/2013

    " The best part of Richard Russo is knowing that when I was a young boy he made that movie Nobody's Fool with Melanie Griffith (while still hot). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peter | 5/3/2013

    " I love Richard Russo, but this book was not so generous to the humans as his others... nor as funny. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maria | 4/20/2013

    " The first short story in this book was awesome, the rest...not so much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 rinabeana | 3/5/2013

    " I have to say that I like his novels better. I don't see the humor (dark as it is) in the short stories that I do in the novels and I don't feel very attached to the characters. Overall, not a bad read, but not an essential one either. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 2/13/2013

    " This is what short stories should be. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laureen Vonnegut | 11/26/2012

    " there are some perfect stories in here. perfect... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 jtabz | 9/1/2012

    " My first experience reading Richard Russo. I enjoyed this collection enough to read the whole thing in one sitting, but not enough for any of the stories--with the exception of "Monhegan Light"-- to stick out in my mind the next day. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Al | 5/27/2012

    " The story "The Whore's Child" is worth the price of admission alone. Reminds me of "Our Lady's Tumbler," but the nun in this case is something of a Cinderella, with the shoe of the ugly sister on her foot, wrong side, bloody as the original Grimm's fairy tale had it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dody | 3/21/2012

    " a collection of short stories the first story which is the title of the book was my favorite of the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jemathomp | 12/31/2011

    " Short stories at their best! I am always amazed at the insight of Richard Russo. He turns a simple subject into a subtle lesson. Wonderful reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yeti | 12/10/2011

    " A brilliant collection of short fiction. Many of the stories here are expanded into his published novels. It is interesting to see how an idea begins knowing how it later evolves. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 11/15/2011

    " I fucking hated Empire Falls, I don't care what any of you say, but I loved this book. And I don't even like short stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Al | 9/27/2011

    " The story "The Whore's Child" is worth the price of admission alone. Reminds me of "Our Lady's Tumbler," but the nun in this case is something of a Cinderella, with the shoe of the ugly sister on her foot, wrong side, bloody as the original Grimm's fairy tale had it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josie | 7/12/2011

    " A nice, thematically-linked collection though Russo does better within the space of a novel where he can more fully develop his characters. Most center on facing maturity (50s not 20s!), marriage, and paradox of knowing/not knowing someone (especially a spouse). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 5/19/2011

    " This was a good read; ordinarily, I don't enjoy short stories, but this author never disappoints. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 4/8/2011

    " I thought it was okay while I was reading it. Enjoyed it much more when my friends discussed it at Book Club and made me think about each story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurie | 3/19/2011

    " liked it enough to read some of his other books "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandy | 1/29/2011

    " A good collection of short stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 12/9/2010

    " Absolutely stunning collection of stories. I had the pleasure of seeing Russo read once, and he's great at that, too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurel | 11/7/2010

    " A great collection of short stories and wonderful characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 10/1/2010

    " This is what short stories should be. "

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About the Author
Author Richard Russo

Richard Russo is the author of Empire Falls, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He also wrote the screenplay for the HBO miniseries adapted from Empire Falls. He is also the author (and coscreenwriter) of Nobody’s Fool, which was made into a major film starring Paul Newman. He lives in Camden, Maine, and Boston with his wife.