ELSEI have more favorite books than favorite authors. The only authors whose work I have totally devoured are John Irving, Roald Dahl, George Orwell, Nick Hornby and Dashiell Hammett. And as a teenager I read every Mickey Spillane book back to back one summer when I was supposed to be shelving books at one of the largest university libraries in the world. Ironic I suppose, working in the stacks of a great Ivy League institution’s main library I was reading the most common of pulp novels.

Anyway, this preamble is all to say that one other author whose entire output of work I have read and enjoyed is Richard Russo. Mr. Russo’s Mohawk and Empire Falls are two of the novels that have impacted me most in my adult life.

Mr. Russo’s latest work is not a novel, but a memoir, entitled Elsewhere: A memoir, and it is positively brilliant.

About Elsewhere: A Memoir by Richard Russo: “After eight commanding works of fiction, the Pulitzer Prize winner now turns to memoir in a hilarious, moving, and always surprising account of his life, his parents, and the upstate New York town they all struggled variously to escape. Anyone familiar with Richard Russo’s acclaimed novels will recognize Gloversville once famous for producing that eponymous product and anything else made of leather. This is where the author grew up, the only son of an aspirant mother and a charming, feckless father who were born into this close-knit community. But by the time of his childhood in the 1950s, prosperity was inexorably being replaced by poverty and illness (often tannery-related), with everyone barely scraping by under a very low horizon.”

I have always enjoyed the memoir genre and truly believe that everybody has an interesting story to tell. Take a gifted novelist and have him write his real-life observations and you have the recipe for a perfect read. I enjoyed every page of Elsewhere: A Memoir and have come away with a greater appreciation for a man and an author I already admired.

Elsewhere: A Memoir by Richard Russo is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.