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That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo

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Richard Russo must have had fun writing That Old Cape Magic — a thinking person’s beach book. No, it’s not Empire Falls or The Bridge of Sighs, but it’s not intended to be.
Instead of sitting down and opening a vein, as writers are said to do, author Richard Russo might have sat down at his computer and opened a bottle of locally brewed Shipyard beer to launch himself into the story of ex-screenwriter Jack Griffin. Griffin’s marriage unravels on Cape Cod, in Truro, where he and his wife, Joy, celebrated their honeymoon many years before. The story jumps around—from Griffin’s childhood with two eccentric academic parents to the early years of Griffin’s marriage to his parents’ declining years and Griffin’s own daughter’s eventual wedding—succeeding in the neat trick of making you muse about the nature of marriage and parenthood while you laugh…and wince. A perfect end-of-summer read.
In an entertaining Q&A on Knopf’s Web site, Russo says his two daughters were both married during the period in which he wrote That Old Cape Magic, confessing that he imagined a disastrous wedding scene for the book as a way of warding off catastrophe in real life. (His ploy worked.)
Richard Russo talks on tape with New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus here.

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