The Destiny Thief Essays on Writing, Writers and Life

Review From User :

In these beautiful and generous essays, Richard Russo shares the wisdom gained through a long career of reading, writing, and teaching. Although nominally about writers and writing, ( and Russo gives us deft and original readings of Dickens and Twain), this collection offers a lens through which we can see and think about life itself. In the title essay "The Destiny Thief", we see life's unforeseeable and ironic paths traced through the careers of young Russo and a college classmate; comic vision and the absurdity of life inspired by a prosaic home repair project in "The Gravestone and the Commode"; the difficult lessons of apprenticeship and the building of competence in "Getting Good", the gently humorous but apt "Russo's Rules for Life" in"Address to the 2004 Graduates of Colby College";thinking about how we think and what we know ( and how to write about it) in "What Frogs Think: a Defence of Omniscience", and the role of empathy and imagination in both life and writing as a longtime friend and colleague undergoes gender reassignment surgery in "Imagining Jenny". Finally, we read about the vagaries of building bridges between cultures and the importance of the task of encouragement in "The Boss in Bulgaria" in which Russo is the keynote speaker at a somewhat misbegotten Bulgarian seminar.
Russo's long career as a writer of fiction serves him well here; while his topics are serious, they are told with humor, down-to-earth humility, and his typical gift of storytelling. I just loved this and would highly recommend it.


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