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Roscoe A Novel Hardcover – Jan 17 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking USA (Jan. 17 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670030295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670030293
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,038,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.8 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Holloran on Sept. 27 2003
Format: Paperback
Set in one of this country's oldest and most enduring political towns, Roscoe, by William Kennedy, conveys a comfortable familiarilty with the role of the back room party boss. One of the last bastions of the democratic Machine made famous by Tammany Hall, Albany recently sported a Major (Erastus Corning II) who served for forty-two years. Republicans eventually gave up and moved to the suburbs rather than try to fight Albany's City Hall. Politicians play rough in Albany--they know how to hit you where you live. Americans are for the most part idealists when it comes to politics and are shocked and disillussioned by even the whiff of political impropriety or vested interests. Roscoe portrays an old world approach to political power, where able politicians never leave anything to chance (or to the electorate). Kennedy places you on the inside of the machine, and conjures up the complex and dreamy psyche of an aging fixer, a lawyer whose connections, and ability to dig up the dirt on anyone, allows him always to pronounce the last word. The political power and corruption are the backdrop to a more human drama, however--the emergence of a romance whose roots can be traced well back in the old calculus of gaining city hall, a romance that presents Roscoe the opportunity to love after a lifetime of patience and unconscious longing. Kennedy's great achievement lies in this ability to discover the heart of a man we'd all fear, envy, and loathe--a man whose tired and elegaic musings demand no sympathy, ask no indulgence, and offer no apologies--and to lead us to the point where this unlikely hero exposes that heart to an equally world-weary woman, the love of his youth. Political aspirants should read this book to discover if they have a soul like Roscoe's, one that can live in the muck and simultaneuosly still come up smelling roses.
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Format: Paperback
Roscoe, is a political fixer for the Albany political machine. In this novel, we see his life in bits and pieces, bouncing from his misspent youth to the rather bizarre custody battle he becomes part of as an attorney; dealing with his ex-wife, his former love and the child, or not, of his best friend, who has committed suicide...you get the picture. There's a lot going on here. Actually there is too much. So many minor characters take up your time and you get constantly pulled into their lives and away from the fascinating world of early Albany politics. The amazing tales of power struggles and "fixing" things the right way are watered down by tales of unrequited love to the detriment of this book. Not a constantly intriguing tale as many of the others in this series and while it's a good read, it pales in comparison with some of Kennedy's other works.
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Format: Paperback
The story of one man's immersion in a world of political and personal corruption, this novel follows the efforts of political operative Roscoe Conway to break free from the milieu in which he's spent his adult life: Albany politics. Mixing political shenanigans with Depression-era bootlegging and gangsterism, the story opens shortly after the end of World War II with our eponymous hero seeking a way out. But his buddies, Patsy McCall (the town's Democratic Party boss) and Elisha Fitzgibbon, a local blueblood and businessman, who, together with the shrewd Roscoe, make up the Democratic Party triumvirate that wields power in Albany, demand his continued attention. Patsy asks Roscoe to hang around a while longer and then Elisha goes and dies under suspect circumstances, sucking Roscoe back into the vortex of political maneuvering and personal feuds that define his world. As the Republican governor tries to get the goods on the Democratic party leaders and young Alex Fitzgibbon, son of Elisha, returns from the war (he'd volunteered to serve as a private in the infantry) to resume his old seat as Albany's mayor, things really heat up. State troopers are snooping around and trying to bust the brothels and gambling establishments secretly operated by the Democratic chieftains even as Roscoe must try to avoid the whiff of scandal occasioned by Elisha's untimely demise. For Roscoe this is doubly hard since Elisha's widow is also Roscoe's first and, apparently, only true love. So while trying to figure out the secret behind Elisha's abrupt "departure" from the world of Albany's living, Roscoe initiates a tentative courtship of the beautiful Veronica, Alex's mother, at the same time.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Granted this book is well-researched and well-written, but I cannot say that I could not put it down. In fact, I did put it down. Several times. I even stopped halfway through and read another novel, then finished this one. The main characters of this novel are all corrupt politicians, and I found it hard to muster sympathy for corrupt politicians. I just did not care what happened to them. Further, the writing of the subplot about the relationship between Roscoe and his love Veronica was uninspired. In fact, I thought most of the scenes involving the two of them read like a cheap romance paperback.
I loved Kennedy's book "Ironweed" which dealt with the outcasts of Albany's society. This book deals with the insiders of Albany's society. Perhaps this story would have best been left as backstory for other, more engaging, characters.
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