I bought the Kindle version of Nobody's Fool after being impressed by a handful of reviews on Amazon.co.uk.. I have to confess that I only reached about page 80 of 500-600. I found the first page or two very enticing, with it's dryly humourous description of the quiet, attractive town and the way day-trippers from New York would slowly drive up it's elm-lined residential street after turning off the highway, looking for gas. However, this story of small town America is to me, a young Briton with a head full of adventure and promise, too focused on mundane detail, and unreachable lives. I think it's more suited to American readers whose natural love for and interest in their country and its people will keep them reading more.
I think Richard Russo describes his character's thoughts and fears well with a mixture of their actions, words and their inner voices. He is a perceptive observer of the human psyche, but, sadly for me, there doesn't seem to be much passion and optimism in North Bath. I guess this is the point in a way, and perhaps I would enjoy this more as an older reader. The characters seem believable, but for me personally they are too distant, and crucially not enticing or interesting in any way, being so resigned to their humdrum existences. I began to feel depressed about the prognosis for Sully and the other character's futures, yet powerless to intervene, in the same way that I do about people in my own town. I'd like to read about happier characters who are optimistic and enjoying success and the good things in life. In fairness, there are another 450 pages which could feature such characters, but it didn't seem like the story was heading that way. The slow pace of the book is not a problem for me per se, but I would have preferred to read about the stirring and dramatic beauty of the US, and characters who lead more exciting lives (not to say that exciting lives are better, but they do make for more interesting reading).
I am curious enough to want to watch the film based on this book if it is shown on British TV, but I doubt, with so many classics available for free as ebooks, I will return to reading Richard Russo.