Empire Falls Review
Click here to buy posters
In Association with Amazon.com
Empire Falls is about Miles Roby, who dreams about leaving his dull, boring life behind as owner/operator of a small greasy spoon in his hometown in central Maine, and forging a new life for himself and daughter.

The reader is introduced to other characters in Miles' circle: his brother David, ex-wife Janine, teenage daughter Tick, grouchy father Max, parish priests, and the aged town matriarch, Francine Whiting, who seems content in controlling Miles by way of her money.

Since I currently live in a small town (pop. 800), and as I perused Borders' shelves, I chose this book based on setting, supposedly great writing (this book won the Pulitzer Prize), and oops...its cover (hey, it looked like a foreshadowing love interest).

The prologue is a bit lengthy, fourteen pages, but I stuck with it, digging in and hoping for the best. Well, let's just say it took me a while to reach the book's final ending, page 483, and let's just say it wasn't because I'm a slow reader, and let's just say this book left me mumbling, "God help us literate-types if this is Pulitzer-worthy."

Don't get me wrong - I really wanted to give writer Richard Russo my utmost recommendation. I think the problem lies in what Russo freely admits: "I did three screenplays when I was writing Empire Falls, which I think is really some of my best work. I would interrupt the book - usually at a time that was good - I was at a place where I could break and then go off for six weeks and write a screenplay - but I would go off and do that and when I came back to the novel, it was like I had gone someplace with a hammer and nails and built something over there and then got back and discovered my entire tool box."

Pulitzer Prize (2002)? I don't get it. Russo's writing is fine enough, but I kept waiting for something to really happen (which finally did but felt tremendously forced). I think my main objection is that I expected sharper writing, and I wanted to care about Empire's characters. I just didn't.

Russo believes this was some of his "best" work. That may be, but not good enough literature for the Pulitzer. Empire Falls...down.

Submissions Contributors Advertise About Us Contact Us Disclaimer Privacy Links Awards Request Review Contributor Login
© Copyright 2002 - 2018 NightsAndWeekends.com. All rights reserved.