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“That Old Cape Magic”

That Old Cape MagicIn the midst of a “middle-age meltdown,” 57-year-old Jack Griffin attends a therapists’ convention, lugs his father’s ashes around in the trunk of his car, and gets harassed on the phone by his 85-year-old mother. Richard Russo’s new novel showcases his ability to, in the words of the New York Times, “summarize deeply mixed emotions and compress them into deft one-liners.” The Washington Post describes the climactic scenes of “That Old Cape Magic” as “a no-holds-barred bit of Steve Martin-like wedding slapstick, complete with pratfalls, sucker punches, and runaway wheelchairs.” Though it lacks the punch of Russo’s previous work, “That Old Cape Magic” reads like a charming Woody Allen movie, full of tears, laughter, and thoughtful prose.

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