#34– That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo

First, understand that I love Richard Russo’s novels. He writes about small town life, twistedly human families, and the inner working of human relationships. That Old Cape Magic comes from the same mold.

Russo’s hero is a middle-aged teacher, trying to confront his parents’ failed marriage and deaths, his daughter’s coming of age and marriage, the breakdown of his own marriage, and his own mortality. The relationship between the hero and his parents and his in-laws is at the center of the novel. As is often the case, strong emotions get mixed and overlapped, and everything falls apart.

I don’t think this is Russo’s best work. I’d reserve that for “Empire Falls”, and frankly, I think I liked “Bridge of Sighs” better as a chronicle of middle-aged understanding. That said, I’ve never read any of his books that failed to resonante with me on some level, and Cape is no different. It’s worth reading, but if you haven’t read Russo, you might not want to start here.

Joe

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