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Synopsis

A Washington Post Notable Work of Nonfiction
An NPR Best Book of 2012

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Russo turns to memoir in this hilarious and bittersweet account of his lifelong bond with his high-strung, spirited mother—and the small town she spent her life trying to escape. Anyone familiar with Russo’s novels will recognize Gloversville—once famous for producing nine out of ten dress gloves in the United States. By the time Rick was born, ladies had stopped wearing gloves and Gloversville was on its way out. Jean Russo instilled in her son her dream of a better life elsewhere, a dream that prompted her to follow him across the country when he went to college. Their adventures and tribulations on that road trip were a preview of the hold his mother would continue to have on him as she kept trying desperately to change her life. Recounted with a clear-eyed mix of regret, nostalgia, and love, Elsewhere is a stirring tribute to the tenacious grip of the past.

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    I am a Russo fan . . especially his early, Gloversville-region, books. So I was interested and intrigued by the this book, which is large about his mother and his relationship with her, but also talks about life in Gloversville, his grandfather, and his father, all of whom have clear correlatives in the early books. Much of El;sewhere was fascinating, but much seemed more like diary than memoir, and the middle part dragged somewhat. Nonetheless, Russo conveys emotion and empathy as to his characters.

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