NOBODY’S FOOL: Richard Russo’s Deplorable Storytelling. Steven Malanga discusses the career and the latest novel of Richard Russo.

Among the many whose stories have increasingly been ignored by what now passes for serious fiction are America’s working classes, who have progressively struggled to find a place in the twenty-first-century economy and social order.

One happy exception is the novelist Richard Russo, who started out trying to establish a career as a professor/novelist but discovered that what really interested readers were his stories about growing up with an often-absent father in a declining upstate New York manufacturing community filled with struggling but memorable characters whom some might call “deplorables.” Russo, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls, the tale of a New England mill town and its down-on-their-luck residents, has now returned with his tenth novel, Somebody’s Fool. It’s the third book in a trilogy about upstate New York’s fictional North Bath, a town that first appeared in Russo’s touching comic novel Nobody’s Fool, whose main character, the irascible yet still somehow lovable Donald “Sully” Sullivan, bears striking resemblance to the father Russo says came in and out of his life.

Read the whole thing — and Russo’s novel. If you haven’t read the earlier North Bath books, start with Nobody’s Fool, which made a great movie, too, starring Paul Newman as Sully. Another of Russo’s novels, Straight Man, a lampooning of campus culture, has been turned into “Lucky Hank,” an AMC series now on streaming platforms.