In Richard Russo’s Empire Falls, there are many misguided relationships between characters. One of the most telling moments is when Miles says to Janine, “You sure are tough on [Tick] lately,” and then regrets saying it. He thinks, “One of the great mysteries of marriage was that you had to actually say things before you realized they were wrong” (109). Then he thinks, "The other possibility was that there was no right thing to say, that the choice wasn't between right and wrong but between wrong, more wrong, and as wrong as you can get” (109). Both of these quotations reveal that Miles is uncertain about his relationship and that the things he levies as true or right to say are sometimes not—and there’s no way of knowing until the words are out.