My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Life is hard if you are stubborn – but sometimes that what fate gives you. We read about four generations of Sullivans with an emphasis on Donald – Sully. Due largely to his upbringing by his wife and child beating father, Big Jim, Sully has developed into a loner who looks out only for himself. He was a young boy, “not old enough yet to dream of escape fut old enough to make a solemn oath, and who made that oath and reaffirmed it every night, a single binging oath forged in the depths of that boy’s blood: never forgive. This was the oath Sully had faithfully kept.” [p 542]
Keeping that oath – and we understand why he does – has ramifications: that he never looks back, never indulges in regret, never apologizes “though he understood it was probably unwise to be faithful to any oath yet as always he was unwilling to indulge regret.”[p 542].
I came back to read this gem as I started to read Russo’s latest novel – Everybody’s Fool. Im the first few pages of the new book I realized I should remind myself who these characters are. This novel is a great character study of a simple, stubborn man we see primarily through his interactions with his “friends”: ex-wife, (ex?)-lover, best friend Rub, employer Carl Roebuck, landlord (and 8th grade teacher to most of the town) Mrs Beryl People’s and her son Clive Jr. along with many other minor characters.
If I knew Sully I would dislike him and keep out of this way; but through the novel we learn why he is who he is and we grow attached to him as are Rub and Mrs. Peoples.
This is an excellent book with touching passages and clear and compelling depictions of peoples’ lives. This is why we love fiction – Read it.