History and humanity flow through Empire Falls, Maine, like the strange flotsam washed up at the bend of the vast, slow-moving Knox River. The ... Show synopsis History and humanity flow through Empire Falls, Maine, like the strange flotsam washed up at the bend of the vast, slow-moving Knox River. The Whiting family, owners of the mills and the shirt factory, have sold out to a multinational. The Whiting men have invariably married women who make their lives a misery. C.B. Whiting was no exception. Now his wife, Francine, the last Mrs Whiting, presides like a black widow spider over the declining fortunes of the town. Its hub is the Empire Grill, with a view down the avenue to the abandoned mill and factory. Miles Roby, a gentle, funny loser runs the grill and hopes one day to own it. Meantime, though, his wife has run off with his worst customer, he's anxious about his adored teenage daughter and his one-handed brother, his incorrigible father sponges off everyone, the police have Miles in their sights, and Mrs Whiting has her own plans for him. Here is a huge-hearted and magnificent novel by a master storyteller, marked by comic genius and a love of humankind with all its flaws and foibles. As it builds inexorably to a shocking climax, Russo constantly surprises with characters who creep under your guard to disarm you, a plot with as many twists and falls as the Know River itself, and an ending that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.