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Between the Bridge and the River Paperback – March 8, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 212 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A gallery of grotesques slogs through the sewers of the entertainment industry toward redemption in this exhilarating debut novel from the host of The Late Late Show. Leading the pack are Fraser, a Scottish "phony TV evangelist... drunken, selfish media prick... gossip and sot" who has been disgraced in a sex scandal; his cancer-stricken boyhood pal, George; vapid sit-com star Leon; and Leon's 300-pound, sexually perverted Svengali brother, Saul. They make their separate but linked ways through a world populated by snake handlers, serial killers, dead-eyed whores and hack studio executives pushing formulaic action films, while they take hallucinatory side trips. The sprawling tale, with plenty of Scottish backstory, casts a jaundiced eye on media debaucheries and petty vanities, throwing in miscellaneous riffs on everything from Starbuck's to escort ads, but Ferguson is particularly sharp—and funny—on Hollywood proper. For every satire of organized religion or a Vegas that's "as glitzy as a trailer park at Christmas," however, he delivers an injunction to "help others" or an ode to Paris in springtime that somehow sounds fresh. The result is a tour de force of cynical humor and poignant reverie, a caustic yet ebullient picaresque that approaches the sacred by way of the profane. (Apr. 10)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Ferguson is best-known to Americans as host of The Late Late Show, and moviegoers may recognize him as the Glasgow hairdresser in The Big Tease and the pot-puffing lead in Saving Grace. His strange, funny, profane, surreal, and surprisingly moving first novel is about friends since childhood from Glasgow. Fraser meets fame and fortune--well, the Scottish equivalents, at least--as a televangelist but unfortunately has insatiable yens for booze, prostitutes, and . . . knitwear. Meanwhile, George is a bit of a lost soul, who may or may not have a terminal illness. The novel also features illegitimate half-brothers Saul and Leon from the American Deep South and an eclectic cast of historical figures, including Carl Jung. Ferguson pokes good-natured fun at the media, pop culture, reality TV, religion, and, of course, Scotland as the novel jumps gleefully from Glasgow to London to Paris to Miami to Vegas to L.A., and from one character to another, while somehow managing to make weird literary sense. Fond of deranged, slightly warped humor? Try this. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; Reprint edition (March 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811858197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811858199
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is a sharp needle, called a 'between', that is used for fine stitching in heavy fabric. This implement is a perfect metaphor to describe the crafting of the unique and inspiring fiction that is "Between the Bridge and the River." The golden thread of Craig Ferguson's sharp wit and keen insight into the depravity and glory of the human psyche shines in stark contrast to the novel's weighty themes: death and illness, abuse and misogyny, self-loathing and depression, redemption and grace, and above all, love and miracles and hope.

Before the story begins in earnest, the author reminds us of the mysterious nature of time and of bumblebee flight. Synchronicity and serendipity surface again and again, weaving a pattern of transformation and miracles. Improbable-impossible coincidences and twists propel the characters through their adventures.

Mr. Ferguson shines a harsh and unforgiving light on western popular culture. Sex and violence are used as expertly as a surgeon wields a scalpel, exposing the disturbing pathology that underlies much of modern life. But the author also reveals an unexpected tenderness and depth of emotion. It is the author's expression of the profound poignancy of the human experience that has stayed with me after this read, leaving me with a sense of the sweetness of life.

"Between the Bridge and the River" is funny, sexy, desperate, heart-breaking, hopeful and beautiful. I love this book and I recommend it highly, because we are born and we die and the journey between is a mystery. And because bumblebees can fly.
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Format: Paperback
I'm not a huge Craig Ferguson fan (I prefer Conan O'Brien's brand of late night fun), but I have to admit, this novel is outstanding. It is witty, incisive and worldly wise. Ferguson does what many novelists find difficult -- he combines humor with insight to give us a layered and satisfying novel about love and loss, corruption and faith. You will laugh out loud and gain a further appreciation for Ferguson's intelligence along the way. A must read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ferguson has crafted what is, simply, the wildest, most hilarious ride I've had the pleasure to read in ages. A little Carl Hiassen, a dash of Hunter Thompson... but comparisons do little justice to this magnificent opus. It is a singular, riotous, bit of work. Nobody is spared: Religion, vanity, showbiz, sex -- it's all target practice for Ferguson, and his rapier wit. It's not a book for the timid.

I can't remember laughing out loud so often, while reading a book. This is a true gem.
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Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Bridge is very comprehensive and funny. I got a great sense of each character. The story was widely divergent than I had anticipated and I loved reading Mr. Ferguson's uncensored prose! He is a naughty boy and who doesn't love a naughty boy! He is wonderfully descriptive (think George's tumor! or vulgar Saul!). His recipe of good and evil, love & sex, funny & sad, and redemption, make for a clever and intelligent read. I highly recommend BETWEEN THE BRIDGE AND THE RIVER ...More books please, Mr. Ferguson!
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Format: Hardcover
Between the Bridge and the River is a swift and crowded tour through contemporary sex, drugs, and rockin' religion. Fans of Christopher Moore, Bill Fitzhugh, Tom Robbins and Tom Holt will be delighted to welcome another wild man to the scene. Ferguson's many characters are easy to keep track of, as their distinct personalities and traits are very well drawn. TV preachers, Hollywood stars, serial killers, a femme fatale, and many other folks careen around Glasgow and Paris, Florida, California, and Vegas. As they ricochet in valiant confusion, occasional slapstick and manic misadventures, some find a clearer understanding of what they really want from life. It's a very entertaining and hilarious read.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought the book because I love his Late Late Night Show, but was wonderfully thrilled with his writing. The plot was exciting and moved along at a rapid pace, with participants gradualy more and more defined and unpredictably connected. It held my interest throughout, especially once I got the diverse charcters and their relationships straightened out. It was hard to put down. The people were amazing and easy to identify with, as I've had a pretty bizarre life too. The realistic language and actions at times were hilarious. Hopefully there will be more books like this by Mr Ferguson.
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Format: Hardcover
This is hi-la-ri-ous. smart, fun, witty, clever, all of the above. I was transported. Rare book that can make you laugh out loud but also ponder the meaning. Never saw his show in my life (have now, though) and it makes you think what's going on behind that on screen persona and that charming accent?

Obviously some brainpower.
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Format: Hardcover
With his debut novel, Craig Ferguson establishes himself as much more than the saucy talk-show host we see nightly on CBS. As one reviewer aptly states, Ferguson "is not a talk-show host moonlighting as an author - it might be the other way around".

It is impossible to summarize this book and do it justice. At once poignant and profane, bawdy and beautiful, it is a morality tale of several seemingly disparate individuals each on his own warped road to grace and redemption. Mind you, though, this is not some dreamy esoteric spiritual journey. Ferguson's description of Saul getting action in a bathroom stall will have you fall off your own chair with fits of laughter. And yet just a few pages away the reader is treated to a lovely fairy story of a shape shifting witch and her love for a man. It's an ADD romp of human emotion and experience.

The slapstick parodies of everything from Starbucks to Scientology are hilarious. No one escapes Ferguson's rapier attacks. Certainly no one in Southern California. And casting the movie will be a giggly joy for whichever agency gets that happy task. Who will play the cameo dream sequence appearance of Carl Jung? Of Marat?

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Ferguson at the LA Times Festival of Books ( a gargantuan annual convergence of authors and readers at UCLA), and he proved as personable and charming there as he seems on the telly.

Craig, by all means use the CBS vehicle to get your face etched firmly into American popular culture. Then please devote yourself full time to writing. You're too good to just interview Tara Reid.

That was the sugar.

Now for some salt.

Craig, Craig, Craig. It's not nice to slap the hand that feeds you.
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