Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo

Publication Date: May 3, 2016 by Knopf. I listed to the Audible.com version narrated by Mark Bramhall.

Summary: Several years after the end of the first book, Nobody’s Fool, Sully is having heart problems and is nearly at death’s door, his landlady Mrs. Peoples is deceased and, the cop he once punched out for being an idiot, Doug Raymer, is Chief of Police. Vera runs the diner; her daughter is still having problems with her abusive ex-husband and Rub Squeers is still the runt of the litter.

This novel is a microcosmic look into the lives of the people of North Bath, New York, Unlike the first novel which featured Sully, this one mostly centers around Doug Raymer. Some of the characters we got to know in the first book have faded into the background.Everybody's Fool

Comments: While entertaining enough, Everybody’s Fool pales in comparison to Nobody’s Fool. The characters aren’t nearly as engaging and the book lacks some of the subtle humor present in the first novel.  I originally read Nobody’s Fool about 20 years ago. I wanted to refresh my memory, so I re-read/listened to Ron McLarty’s narration through Audible.com, then went on to Everybody’s Fool.

I just didn’t find myself as emotionally invested in the story. I don’t care if I ever hear about the town of Bath again. Despite all the tragedies in people’s lives, there was a glimmer of hope at the end of book one. I felt that hope was never present in book two. Well, one tiny bit at the end but not enough to make up for the rest of it.

As for the audio versions, I have to say that with McLarty’s “Sully voice” fresh in my mind, I had a hard time picking out Sully in Bramhall’s narration. The voices just weren’t as distinct. This may have colored my impression of the book somewhat.

Despite my less than glowing review, I am a fan of Richard Russo’s novels. There are a few I’ve never read, and I still plan to read them.