A wonderfully funn and perceptive novel in the traditions of Thornton Wilder and Anne Tyler, The Risk Pool is set in Mohawk, New York, where Ned Hall is doing his best to grow up, even though neither of his estranged parents can properly be called adult.
His father, Sam, cultivates bad habits so assiduously that he is stuck at the bottom of his auto insurance risk pool. His mother, Jenny, is slowly going crazy from resentment at a husband who refuses either to stay or to stay away. As Ned veers between allegiances to these grossly inadequate role models, Richard Russo gives us a book that overflows with outsized characters and outlandish predicaments and whose vision of family is at once irreverent and unexpectedly moving.
"Russo proves himself a master at evoking the sights, feelings, and smells of a town. . . . [The Risk Pool is] superbly original and maliciously funny." —The New York Times Book Review
"A fine, closely observed novel . . . Richard Russo writes with such sympathy and attention to the rhythms of small-town life that he invests inarticulate lives with genuine passion. . . . [He] has succeeded in creating characters with the emotional weight of people we've known in real life." —The New York Times
"Weighted with wonderful detail . . . a rich, anecdotal novel brimming with the metaphorical lessons of adolescence: on pocket billiards and sexual frustration, trout fishing and serenity." —Boston Globe
"Richard Russo has it just perfect in The Risk Pool. A gem of a novel."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch