What Do I Read Next?
The Great Gatsby (1925), by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is one of Russo’s favorite novels; Francine Whiting quotes the last line of it when she meets with Miles in the Planning and Development Office in chapter 2.
Russo also counts Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations (1860–1861) as one of his favorites and Dickens as one of his favorite authors. Russo’s novels often have a large cast of quirky characters that more than one critic has described as Dickensian.
Russo’s second novel, The Risk Pool (1988), is probably the most autobiographical of Russo’s books; the character of Sam in this novel was based, in part, on Russo’s own father, who was dying at the time that Russo wrote the book.
Russo was one of four authors to contribute essays about Maine to photographer Terrell S. Lester’s book, Maine: The Seasons (2001). The other essayists are Ann Beattie, Richard Ford, and Elizabeth Strout.
Another of Russo’s favorite classics is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884–1885), by Mark Twain. Russo’s use of humor is one of his trademarks; in an interview with bookseller Barnes & Noble in 2005, Russo said that Twain’s classic “demonstrates that you can go to the very darkest places if you’re armed with a sense of humor.”