Russo's novel is wonderful! The characters, even the minor characters are real, tangible, quirky, heartwarming and heartbreaking. His writing style is rich and engaging; his style reminds me of John Cheever, or John Updike, John somebody anyway.
Empire Falls, a small mill town in Maine, has seen the last of the good times. Miles Roby grew up in Empire Falls, had a brief chance of escape while in college, but was drawn back because of his mother's failing health. Now, middle aged and struggling to make ends meet, Miles runs the Empire Grill.
Miles' destiny is not always his own. He is working through a divorce his wife wants, trying to raise his daughter to a better life, and always crossing swords with the rich women who owns most of the town, including the Empire Grill.
There is much to like about Miles. He faces adversity head on and seems to enjoy a balance in life.
The story is very well told, at times humorous, and at times gut-wrenching; but through it all, Russo weaves a tale of wonderfully rich and entertaining characters.