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So Long at the Fair Paperback – July 14, 2009

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Frequently Bought Together

So Long at the Fair + All Is Vanity (Ballantine Reader's Circle) + Drowning Ruth: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)
Price for all three: $37.22

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (July 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307275493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307275493
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #660,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

From the outside, Jon and Ginny’s marriage is solid. But Jon must make a decision: should he end his affair or his marriage? He never intended to cheat on his wife; the affair just happened. The attention from a young, beautiful woman and Ginny’s apprehension about starting a family made the affair so easy. What he doesn’t realize is that Ginny is getting closer to realizing the truth. The long work hours and his strange attachment to his computer are making her suspicious. Over the course of one day, Schwarz follows Jon and Ginny, expertly describing the complexity of their marriage, revealing the thought process behind Jon’s adultery, and exploring the way in which Ginny rationalizes Jon’s behavior. It is an honest and balanced portrayal of a marriage in trouble. However, Oprah author Schwarz muddies their story with a flashback sequence about their parents that ultimately has no bearing on Jon and Ginny’s relationship. Read and recommend this for Schwarz’s skill in deciphering relationships, and overlook the flashback cliché. --Carolyn Kubisz --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“A complex journey into lovers' hearts and minds. . . . So Long at the Fair is a thriller and a mystery as well as character-driven literary fiction." —Los Angeles Times"Christina Schwarz's multilayered storytelling makes this novel spellbinding." —People“Schwarz has a gift for telling a suspenseful tale. Both the fate of the marriage in peril and the unfolding of the decades-old drama drive the reader forward. . . . Satisfying.” —Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel“The book's pacing races. . . . When you read the last page, you will want to start over, to see the clues you missed and appreciate Schwarz's delicate weaving of family histories that leave legacies of guilt and revenge.” —USA Today

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Customer Reviews

It began dawning on me after reading 3/4 of the book: I don't reallllly think this book is worth finishing!
Because the characters do not even arrive at the "fair" until the end of the book - so they really weren't "too long at the fair".
The author did a good job of maintaining the tension and urgency of the story despite the structural and character flaws.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Red Rock Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This mercurial story of love and adultery in a small Wisconsin town spans the course of three decades and serves as undeniable proof positive that people don't always learn from their mistakes or the mistakes of others.

Two stories, inextricably linked, are related to the reader in alternating chapters. Each of the plotlines is character driven and telegraphs a sense of foreboding. Agilely pivoting between one fateful night in 1963 and a single hot July day some thirty years later, Schwartz deftly intertwines the two stories to give us an evocative portrait of sympathetic individuals caught up in unsympathetic situations.

When a writer of Schwartz's caliber has proven her ability to produced jewels such as All is Vanity and Drowning Ruth one tends to view future offerings with a more critical eye. Although better than a lot of writer's best work, one always expects more from those whose obvious talent sets them apart from the rest. For this reason, this reader found So Long at the Fair to be a little heavy handed in its resolution and definitely lacking the insight into the foibles of the human animal so accurately and flawlessly characterized in her previous works. For this reason.........3 stars.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Osceola on July 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I didn't know what to expect from this book (I haven't read Schwartz's other books), but I found its evocation of time and place pitch-perfect, its dissection of character probing but generous, and its examination of marriage penetrating and poignant. Moreover, it's a page-turning suspense novel. I really loved this book--and I'm turning next to All is Vanity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By zibilee VINE VOICE on August 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
So Long at the Fair is the story of pivotal day in the Life of Jon and Ginny. The couple are high school sweethearts who found their connection due to a devastating accident and have been married for several years. Ginny is a lovable pack rat whose gardening business is beginning to flourish, while Jon is a typical type-A advertising executive, driven and focused on Freddi, a woman outside of their marriage. The novel frames an intense day when Jon must decide whether to abandon his fledgling affair, or to continue it and leave Ginny behind. Sprinkled throughout this story is the story of Bud and Marie, Jon's parents, whose actions are told in flashback. Bud and Marie's actions have had repercussions that have impacted Jon and Ginny's life, and brought them where they are today. As the couple spends the day separated by an argument, both examine the relationship and and remember the events that ultimately brought them together. In between we learn of Freddi's attempts to dissuade a persistent admirer who doesn't seem to know when to let go, and Ginny's decision to do business with a man who has a shadowy connection to her past.

This book had a strange effect on me. I found the tenuous construction of the plot to be very difficult to keep track of. Many times it was confusing as to when in the specific time period action was taking place, or who the characters were in relation to one another. This was particularly so in the flashback portions of the book. The modern sections were more easily construed, but those sections had their difficulties as well. In particular, the way the back story was woven together was a little annoying. Instead of getting the full story at one time, the author chose to distribute the information in several bits, alternating between Jon and Ginny.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Honor Bret Harte on July 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This a great story - a family saga about the secrets underlying a failing marriage that culminates in a completely unexpected conflagration that has the power to restore the shaken union. There are two, interwoven stories: a present-day one about the man, his wife and his mistres - all of whom have set in motion a plan that can only result in the wife's discovery of the affair - and a story set in the early nineteen sixties, describing some mysterious evetns that took place among the parents of this man and wife. I loved everything about this book, from the unbearable tension of watching the husband about to be caught out in his lies, to the gradual revelation about what happened so long ago to doom this marriage. But what blew me away was the ending - a double ending, actually - that reveals the mystery of the past, and also brings the players of the present-day story into an unforgettable, dramatic confrontation. "Drowning Ruth" is my all-time favorite novel, and it is great to see Schwarz returning to that territory of family secrets and the mystery of marital passion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
So Long at the Fair A Novel
By Christina Schwarz
Doubleday, Publisher
ISBN: 978-0-385-51029-5
I originally was interested in reading this book because of the title and the location. I was born and raised in North Eastern Ohio in 1962 so the life that the main characters of this book lived is very much like my memories of growing up.
On the first look this book is about adultery but it goes a lot deeper than that. There are two main time lines that take place and also an additional one thrown in just for some added flavor. Sometimes keeping these time lines clear can be difficult since a few of the characters show up in more than one time line but they have changed just enough that you need to double check often to see who it is that is being referred to. I found that the book grabbed me right away with just enough information to keep me reading to find out what happens. The main time frame of the book actually takes place over one morning and afternoon. This being said you realize that much of the book is filled with background information and time to get to know and understand the motivations behind the many characters.
There are two groups of characters in this book that you discover early on are two generations of several families in one small town. It seems that what happens to them is seemingly unrelated. The 1960's time line has mystery and revenge. The later time line has adultery. Other than the fact that the people are related you find yourself wondering why they are important to each other. This I think is where a reader will benefit if they have a little bit of life behind them.
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