Straight Man - Richard Russo

Straight Man

By Richard Russo

  • Release Date: 1998-06-09
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4.5
From 95 Ratings


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 Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo.
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.

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  • Enjoyable Read

    By Emmet Aloysius
    I enjoy books in academic settings and Straight Man is just a good story to read and enjoy. Russo creates interesting characters who you become involved with & actually care how they turn out, unlike many fiction books...EAF
  • In My Top 20

    By DrKate aka The Rock Doctor
    "Straight Man" is my personal favorite by Richard Russo and ranks among my very favorite books of all time. I'm astounded a reviewer found it lacking, but I can surmise the person who wrote the review is quite young. After pondering it for a bit, I do see how Mr Russo's wit appeals better to those who've experienced the ups and downs of mature relationships, a mid-career crisis or two, and a viewpoint tarnished by having lived long enough to figure out that things rarely turn out at 40 or 50 or 60 as we had planned when we were 20. This truly is laugh-out-loud hilarious but with a poignancy that touched my heart. For those who've been around the block of life a few times, you will surely enjoy every page of "Straight Man."
  • in the top twenty best books EVER

    By Debbaann
    Thank god for writers like Richard Russo, who restore my faith in the great american novel. By turns hysterical and heart wrenching, this is a book for the ages-Dickens meets Irving. In a word- Amazing.
  • Ehh...

    By AeroAstroGeek
    I had to read this book for a class I'm taking called Humor in Literature. The book has a lot of bland, sexual humor that isn't to my taste. It is an ok book, but if I could, I would go back in time and opt not to take the class as I found reading the book very tedious.