Straight Man

Russo, Richard

eBook - 2011
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Straight Man
A comedy on university downsizing. To make sure the English department's budget is not cut, William Devereaux, its chairman, goes on TV threatening to kill a goose a day if that happens. Unfortunately a goose is beheaded soon after and Devereaux finds himself in hot water. The setting is Pennsylvania.

Publisher: New York : Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2011
ISBN: 0307809943
Branch Call Number: OverDrive downloadable ebook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


From Library Staff

In this uproarious new novel, Richard Russo performs his characteristic high-wire walk between hilarity and heartbreak. Russo's protagonist is William Henry Devereaux, Jr., the reluctant chairman of the English department of a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt.

From the critics

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Nov 08, 2014
  • empbee rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Good style, funny at times.
I thought it was written in the seventies. It seems that not much changed in academia.

Oct 17, 2014
  • lukasevansherman rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I've known about Richard Russo for a while, but just started reading him this year and am devouring his work, which I think puts him at the forefront of contemporary American novelists. Like Irving, he has little interest in trends, post-modernism, or experimentalism. He's a proudly old fashioned, populist novelist who rather than trying to bend words in new ways do what great authors have always done: try to make sense of how we live. "Straight Man" is not his best novel, but it is his funniest. He keeps the small-town setting of his other books, but this time the characters are professors at a college. He gently pokes fun at office politics, lit theory, and how every English prof. tries to write a novel. As always, his characters and settings feel authentic and lived in, like a familiar flannel shirt. It has a similar wit and feel to David Lodge's campus novels.

Aug 23, 2014
  • hobyzoe rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of the best books I have ever read. Funny - yes, laugh-out-loud - but also excellent character development and superb philosophies. Writing this good is very rare indeed.

Jun 12, 2014
  • riwasows rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

One of the funniest books I've read in a long time.

Jun 09, 2012
  • DebbyReese rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I love Richard Russo's writing - he's an author who makes every word count - no wasted rhetoric! This book was so true - and so very funny - I loved it!

Jul 21, 2011
  • jscearce rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I thought this was SUPER funny. The writing style is similar to my own way of saying things, so it made we connect with the story a lot. Also very heart-wrenching at times, at least to me. But definitely funny. Highly recommend.

Apr 19, 2011
  • biblioholic rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is one of the funniest books I've ever read, hands-down.

Apr 19, 2011
  • GummiGirl rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A funny look at small-town academic life colliding with a midlife crisis.

Mar 21, 2011
  • AJ_in_CoMo rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I suppose this was a funny book...but, frankly I found it a little too TRUE to be funny! Very accurate writing about academia and the foibles/plots/fears/desires of a college's professors and administration. A good book.

Jan 21, 2010
  • lori_95070 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

My dad's a retired professor. I found this very funny, sometimes "laugh out loud" funny, sometmes just a chuckle.


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