Originally published in 1986 Richard Russo’s Mohawk remains today as it was described then: A first novel with all the assurance of a mature writer at the peak of form and ambition. Mohawk is set in upstate New York and chronicles over a dozen lives in a leather town, long after the tanneries have started closing down. Ranging over three generations—and clustered mainly in two clans, the Grouses and the Gaffneys—these remarkably various lives share only the common human dilemmas and the awesome physical and emotional presence of Mohawk itself.
Mohawk, New York, is one of those small towns that lie almost entirely on the wrong side of the tracks. Its citizens, too, have fallen on hard times. Dallas Younger, a star athlete in high school, now drifts from tavern to poker game, losing money, and, inevitably, another set of false teeth. His ex-wife, Anne, is stuck in a losing battle with her mother over the care of her sick father. And their son, Randall, is deliberately neglecting his school work—because in a place like Mohawk it doesn't pay to be too smart. In Mohawk Richard Russo explores these lives with profound compassion and flint-hard wit. Out of derailed ambitions and old loves, secret hatreds and communal myths, he has created a richly plotted, densely populated, and wonderfully written novel that captures every nuance of America's backyard.
For this is a town like Winesburg, Ohio or Our Town, in our time, that encompasses a plethora of characters, events and mysteries. At once honestly tragic and sharply, genuinely funny, Mohawk captures life, then affirms it.
"Moving dramatizes an older, innocent way of life...brisk, colorful, and often witty."— The New York Times Book Review