cover image Mohawk


Richard Russo / Author Vintage Books USA $6.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0

In his compelling debut, Russo lays bare the foibles and tragedies of the human condition against the backdrop of a fictitious small town in upstate New York. Particularly skillful is his vivid description of Mohawk, a loser of a place, whose tanneries, which have already poisoned the water with carcinogens, are closing, sending the town into economic recession. The narrative supports a few mysteries and more than a dozen characters, although some are better developed than others. Anne Grouse, who thinks she is ""wild,'' but patiently pines for her beloved cousin Diana's husband for 20 years without breaking up their marriage, exemplifies the life-sustaining combination of self-delusion and ineffectual despair. Wild Bill, a mentally retarded boy-man abandoned by his family, is Russo's best, and most heartrending, creation. But Anne's relationship with her son and Diana's character are not fully realized, and old Mrs. Grouse and her doting sister Millyare caricatures. 35,000 first printing.(September)