Straight Man: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)

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Straight Man: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) By Richard Russo Cover Image

Straight Man: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


This satirical novel tells the story of a small-town college professor in the throes of a midlife crisis. It tackles serious topics, worthy of discussion, and is also seriously funny. Read it and watch it—this book is the basis for the new show Lucky Hank!

— Paige

Hilarious and true-to-life, witty, compassionate, and impossible to put down, Straight Man follows Hank Devereaux through one very bad week in this novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls. • Now the AMC Original Series Lucky Hank.

William Henry Devereaux, Jr., is the reluctant chairman of the English department of a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt. Devereaux's reluctance is partly rooted in his character—he is a born anarchist—and partly in the fact that his department is more savagely divided than the Balkans.  

In the course of a single week, Devereaux will have his nose mangled by an angry colleague, imagine his wife is having an affair with his dean, wonder if a curvaceous adjunct is trying to seduce him with peach pits, and threaten to execute a goose on local television. All this while coming to terms with his philandering father, the dereliction of his youthful promise, and the ominous failure of certain vital body functions. In short, Straight Man is classic Russo—side-splitting, poignant, compassionate, and unforgettable.

Look for Richard Russo's new book, Somebody's Fool, coming soon.
RICHARD RUSSO is the author of eight novels; two collections of stories; and Elsewhere, a memoir. In 2002 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls, which like Nobody’s Fool was adapted to film, in a multiple-award-winning HBO miniseries.
Product Details ISBN: 9780375701900
ISBN-10: 0375701907
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: June 9th, 1998
Pages: 416
Language: English
Series: Vintage Contemporaries
"The funniest serious novel I have read since—well, maybe since Portnoy's Complaint." The New York Times Book Review

"There is a big, wry heart beating at the center of Russo's fiction." The New Yorker

"[Russo] skewers academic pretensions and infighting with mad abandon...in a clear and muscular prose that is a pleasaure to read....I had to stop often to guffaw, gasp, wheeze, and wipe away my tears."Chicago Sun-Times

"Bursting with humor and insight."USA Today