Richard Russo's recent novel Empire Falls centers mostly around the life of Miles Roby, who lives in the rural Maine town of… wait for it… Empire Falls. He attempted to get away, but returned years ago to tend to his ailing mother and never left. He has given up fighting his soon to be ex-wife, who leaves him to pursue the almighty orgasm but is selfish to the core. His daughter Tick is low on the school food chain. Actually, there are a lot of important characters in the story, so I shall leave most of them off my synopsis. This is mostly a character stoduy novel, but there is an actual story-line behind everything. Miles is a man who tends to fall into things more by accident than by design. He doesn't particularly participate in his own life, too scared to step outside his comfort zones. Miles must come to terms with this along with his past and all his relationships with townspeople as everything builds to a climax that is too big for the small town.
Empire Falls won the 2002 Pulitzer prize for fiction. For good reason. The story is good. The characters are great and mostly realistic. Russo writes excellent dialogue. And every so often he just slips in something profound.