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So Long at the Fair: A Novel Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (July 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385510292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385510295
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,032,710 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

Review

Glowing praise for So Long at the Fair

“Following one crucial day in a marriage tottering on the brink, Schwarz shows the fragility, complexity, and danger inherent in love. A true American tragedy, full of love as well as despair.”
--Kirkus Reviews

“Fans of Christina Schwarz will be thrilled to see that she's back--and once again displaying her greatest strength as a writer: a deep, almost unnerving empathy for human frailty that lends suspense and poignance to the most "ordinary" of domestic emotional struggles. The way she moves back and forth with such ease among her characters and the way she tells the story of a complex family history through the events of a single day impressed me mightily.”
-- Julia Glass, bestselling author of Three Junes and The Whole World Over

“Over and over in So Long At The Fair I found myself being torn in different directions.  That's how real this novel feels and that's how complicated the plot becomes as Schwarz gradually reveals the vexed history of each of her vivid and complex characters.  A wonderful and deeply satisfying novel.”
-- Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street

“Nobody really knows what goes on in other people’s marriages. Well, nobody except, maybe, Christina Schwarz, who delves with astonishing clarity and honesty into the hearts and heads of those who love, honor, and break all the rules. So Long at the Fair stampedes forward with elegant writing and a swift and noisy plot that held me in its thrall from the first page until the last. Anyone who has ever had a relationship, or is even thinking about having one, should read this book.”
—Betsy Carter, author of Swim to Me

So Long at the Fair is both compelling and intimate. Christina Schwarz dives deeply into the hearts and minds of her characters, and their dynamics are utterly convincing. The result is a literary page-turner of immense satisfaction.”
--Patrick Ryan, author of Send Me

Acclaim for Christina Schwarz’s #1 bestseller Drowning Ruth

“Powerful . . . Suspenseful . . . Richly textured . . . [A] chilling, precociously good start to a bright new novelist’s career.”
—New York Times

“A strong sense of portent and unusually vivid characters distinguish this mesmerizing first novel. . . Drowning Ruth is a complex and rewarding debut.”
Anita Shreve, author of Sea Glass

“Gripping . . . A story of deep family rivalries . . . A remarkable debut.”
—New York Times Book Review

“Riveting . . . A very suspenseful tale, one that will keep readers up shivering in the night.”
—USA Today

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Customer Reviews

Why weren't these things answered in this book?
Vanessa
As much as I hated the characters, I just couldn't put the book down.
Dulcibelle
What wasn't resolved was how the story was to end.
J. Adamcyk

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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9 of 10 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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3 of 3 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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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lins TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Could "So Long at the Fair" by Christina Schwartz, involve a bigger group of unlikable characters? There is the lying cheating husband, the messy self-centered wife, the other woman who believes "she" is not the one cheating, and the nerdy, creepy stalker. Then we have a confusing, predictable and totally unnecessary back story set in 1963. Where was the editor with the sense to cut that entirely?

All this mess makes it too easy to hate them all which makes it difficult to appreciate the sub-text and the underlying human conditions that can make a story of adultery interesting, human and compelling.
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7 of 9 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 green_eyes on May 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
At first, I liked this book. I was interested in the characters, I wondered what was going to happen next. I thought the pacing and the 2 story lines were intriguing. I was curious how they were connected and not only what happened in the past, but what's going to happen in the future as well with these characters. But then about 3/4 through the book, I started to wonder if there was going to be a satisfying conclusion. It felt like the author did a good job of setting up an interesting premise, but then didn't know where to go from there. Sure enough, the last 1/4 of the book failed to live up to my expectations. The end was far too short, considering all the build up we went through to get to that point. Overall, I wanted more. I wouldn't recommend this book.
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