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Roscoe
WILLIAM KENNEDY

Roscoe by William Kennedy
23 reviews (2002) (608p)
National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction Finalist
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
New York Times® Best Fiction Books

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Book Description
The first novel from William Kennedy in more than five years and universally acclaimed as his most powerful work since the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ironweed, Roscoe shows Kennedy at his very best. It's V-J Day, the war is over, and Roscoe Conway, after twenty-six years as the second in command of Albany's notorious political machine, decides to quit politics forever. But there's no way out, and only his Machiavellian imagination can help him cope with the erupting disasters. Every step leads back to the past-to the early loss of his true love, the takeover of city hall, the machine's fight with FDR and Al Smith to elect a governor, and the methodical assassination of gangster Jack "Legs" Diamond. "Thick with crime, passion, and backroom banter" (The New Yorker), Roscoe is an odyssey of great scope and linguistic verve, a deadly, comic masterpiece from one of America's most important writers.


Amazon.com Review
Insubstantial but charming, William Kennedy's Roscoe seems to unintentionally resemble many of the politicians it depicts. The seventh novel in Kennedy's Albany series, Roscoe follows Roscoe Conway, a quick-witted, charismatic lawyer-politician who has devoted much of his life to helping his Democratic Party cohorts achieve and maintain political power in 1930s and ‘40s Albany, New York. It's 1945, and Roscoe has decided to retire from politics, but a series of deaths and scandals forces him to stay and confront his past. Kennedy takes the reader on an intricate, whirlwind tour of (mostly) fictional Albany in the first half of the 20th century. He presents a mythologized, tabloid version of history, leaving no stone unturned: a multitude of gangsters, bookies, thieves, and hookers mingle with politicians, cops, and lawyers. In the middle of it all is Roscoe, the kind of behind-the-scenes, wisecracking, truth-bending man of the people who makes everything happen--or at least it's fun to think so. Kennedy shows an obvious affection for his book's colorful characters and historic Albany, and he describes both with loving specificity. Though the book often works as light comedy, its clichéd plot developments and stereotypical characters undermine its serious concerns with truth, history, and honor. "You've never met a politician like Roscoe Conway," promises the book's jacket blurb. But we have, through his different roles in countless films and TV series. As with its notoriously deceitful hero, Roscoe is likeable as long as you don't take it too seriously. --Ross Doll


Other Award Winning Books by William Kennedy
Chango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes by William Kennedy
29 reviews (2011) (304p) (PW Fiction) (NYT100)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
Ironweed by William Kennedy
70 reviews (1983) (227p) (PP) (NBCCA) (PF) (Modern100) (NYTimes)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page

William Kennedy Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 5  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 2  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 1 Ironweed ·  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 1 Ironweed ·  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 1 Ironweed ·  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 2 Ironweed · Roscoe ·  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 2 Ironweed · Roscoe ·  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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