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Mohawk: A Novel

2 Ratings: 3.5
Small town drama by Richard Russo

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, … see full wiki

Author: Richard Russo
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Vintage
Date Published: April 12, 1994
1 review about Mohawk: A Novel

Not as Good as Empire Falls

  • May 8, 2009
  • by
Prior to reading this book I read Empire Falls by the same author. Both books are similar in that they are tales about small towns that depended on a factory to keep their economic viability and in both cases the industry has dried up. The first book had a lot of fascinating characters, who for various reasons were "trapped" in their town to live out the rest of their lives there. Mohawk is similar except the characters for the most part are very dull. In both books the two main characters are divorced with a teenager that seems to get into a lot of trouble. In Empire Falls, we have a lot of sympathy for both main characters and their troubled daughter. In Mohawk, the parents are so dull (Anne Grouse and Dallas Younger) that we couldn't care what happens to them and their teenaged son (Randall) seems to do a lot of things on a whim (just drop out of college and hitch-hike back to town) that we really do not know what makes him tick.

Anne has done a few things that defy logic like having an affair with Dallas' best friend (Dan) and still marrying Dallas, though she doesn't love him. Russo fails to reasonably explain Anne's attraction to Dan and the reason for her wanting to marry Dallas. Dallas is so drab as an ex-star high school football player who constantly forgets what he had planned to do.

One of the few characters with any substance is Mather Grouse, Anne's father who lived a very rigid life. Mather always wanted that Anne leave Mohawk to find her fortune and she is on the verge of doing so, when he suddenly dies. Anne is forced to give up her plans in order to stay with her mother. Anne's mother is pretty annoying and is herself annoyed by just about everything especially any type of insect.

I slogged through this book and finished it only because I felt I needed to, not because I enjoyed it, which I didn't.

It seems like this book is an early stab by Russo and Empire Falls is the "cleaned up" and greatly improved version. Final score: Empire Falls 5, Mohawk 2 ½ to 3.

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2 Ratings: +3.5
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Mohawk a novel by Richard Russo
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