18 April 2019, The Tablet

Reports from Planet Russo

Reports from Planet Russo

Richard Russo
Photo: photo: Camille Gévaudan


The Destiny Thief: Essays on Writing, Writers and Life
(ALLEN & UNWIN, 224 PP, £18.99)
Tablet bookshop price £17.09 • Tel 020 7799 4064

For a compendium of journalistic chips fallen from the senior novelist’s work-bench, The Destiny Thief is on the slim side – barely exceeding its 200th page and, in some of its repetitions, suggesting that its Pulitzer-winning author finds the obligation to produce pieces of “occasional” writing a bit of a chore. On the other hand, the material turns out to be thoroughly representative of the genre in which it resides: musings on the career to date; introductions to the classics; reportage from a professional trip to Bulgaria. John Updike might have done it at three times the length, but he would have approved the animating principle.

Readers of Richard Russo’s novels – all too few, you suspect, on this side of the Atlantic – will be interested to know that their tone expertly reproduces itself in his non-fiction, which is to say that its ruminative, head-scratching folksiness is entirely deceptive.

Get Instant Access

Continue Reading

Register for free to read this article in full

Subscribe for unlimited access

From just £21.50 quarterly

  Complete access to all Tablet website content including all premium content.
  The full weekly edition in print and digital including our 179 years archive.
  PDF version to view on iPad, iPhone or computer.

Already a subscriber? Login