Every Friday, I check the queue of books to be featured in this blog. And so I did it 30 minutes ago. Next one is Empire Falls. Richard Russo. Hmm.
This book is around 500 pages, and I can’t recall a single thing! I started to panic so I decided to put some random music on to relax my nerves.
Music is really relaxing because I now remember the daughter of the protagonist. Her name is Tick. Her real name is Christine, or Christina, or something like that. And her father is, uhm, Miles? Roby?
Miles Roby works at a burger shop. He doesn’t own it. He’s been there all his life. He seems to be smarter than your average burger man, but what happened to him in the past, that I cannot recall.
As I mentioned, he has a daughter named Tick. She will soon be in college. She sticks up to his father despite the daily drones of their average life. Where is her mother? Oh, Miles and Tick’s mother are going through a divorce. I think he was left by the woman for a richer man.
What I remember most about this novel is the shooting that took place in Empire Falls. Yes, Empire Falls is a town. Anyway, there’s this guy who was bullied at Tick’s high school. He has greenish teeth. He works part-time at the same burger joint where Miles earns his living. Miles must have been a manager because he hired this boy, thinking that he badly needs the job, both personally and financially. Then somewhere, the boy starts shooting the high school boys who tortured him at school.
I don’t remember his name.
There are a whole bunch of characters in this novel. There are the neighbors, the people at the high school, the customers of the burger joint, the owner of the burger joint, and so on. And there are many things that took place. I remember how bad the economy was in Empire Falls. There were factories closing and I even think there was a labor strike.
Generally, this is a small town novel about your middle to lower class American life and family, about ambition, about shattered hopes and broken dreams, about coping and recovering.
I think I have to stop now. I know I read this with gusto, but I really can’t remember how it ended.
This is such a struggle for me, trying to write something about something I can barely recall. Perhaps my body vaguely remembers all the struggle going on in the novel. Miles Roby in that greasy restaurant?
He should have finished his education, but he gave it up for reasons I cannot recall. Selflessness. And all along, he was trying his best to guide her daughter through her teenage years. Such responsibilities, he singlehandedly took upon himself. With a soon to be absent wife, he has to.
This book is a tribute to all the fathers who are doing one of the biggest jobs in the world, being a father to their children, in the best way that they could. Kudos to all those fathers. You are doing an amazing job not only for your children, but also for the so-called future of this world.