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Published: ChronicleBooks on
ISBN: 9780811858199
List price: $10.99
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*shrug*

That is basically how I felt reading this book. I didn't care about the characters, I barely cared about the plot, even the little side plots that tried to intertwine with history and give the big nerds out there a giggle made me shrug. It's not a BAD book, but I didn't find it that great either.more
A hilarious religious novel. At first I thought it was a collection of short stories because the first three chapters didn't seem to have anything to do with each other, but it turned out that the threads connected along the way. Fraser and George grew up together. Fraser becomes a Televangelist in Scotland. George becomes a Good Guy who gets cancer and realizes that's really pretty much all he is. The other main thread follows Saul and Leon, brothers who grew up in an orphanage, run away and end up founding a religious group that asks Fraser to a big conference in Atlanta. How he gets there and how Saul and Leon come to start their group is explored in the following chapters with brief check-ins with George. I really admire the writing style, particularly the asides in which the author tells us things about the characters, their ancestors, and odd connections between them and then says, "of course he didn't know that." There are myriad literary and pop culture references, but he veils them in an amusing way: a starlet called Meg Roberts, a playwright called Anthony Boyd-Webster, etc.I really want there to be a sequel to this, as I feel like it wasn't quite resolved, however I don't know that there's enough material for a whole 'nother book, maybe one that features or cameos some of these characters. I don't know. Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. I recommend it.more
Sometimes I start composing my Goodreads reviews in my head as I'm reading. In this case, I started off thinking that Ferguson's experience as a drummer and a comic are evident in his writing. The first chapter is delightfully rhythmic; it almost begs to be read aloud. His characterizations of young George and Fraser are brisk, efficient and spot-on. There was definite 5-star potential here. After a couple of chapters, though, I realized that this was reminding me more and more of A Confederacy of Dunces. I hated that book. I couldn't quite put my finger on the similarities (probably because I've tried to purge Dunces from my memory), but it probably has to do with the meandering, often absurd plot, plus an almost total lack of character development. Ferguson has a gift for capturing the essence of his characters in just a sentence or two, but then simply throws events at them -- like crafting a lovely pinata only to spend the rest of the day whacking it with a broomstick. Which I suppose is the point of a pinata, and which I also suppose is why this novel kinda works anyway. Recommended for anyone who liked Dunces.more
Irreverent and satirical. A carnival of preachers, actors, lovers, story tellers and Carl Jung, this novel is reminiscent of John Kennedy O'Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. Between the bridge and the river one finds redemption.more
Read all 18 reviews

Reviews

*shrug*

That is basically how I felt reading this book. I didn't care about the characters, I barely cared about the plot, even the little side plots that tried to intertwine with history and give the big nerds out there a giggle made me shrug. It's not a BAD book, but I didn't find it that great either.more
A hilarious religious novel. At first I thought it was a collection of short stories because the first three chapters didn't seem to have anything to do with each other, but it turned out that the threads connected along the way. Fraser and George grew up together. Fraser becomes a Televangelist in Scotland. George becomes a Good Guy who gets cancer and realizes that's really pretty much all he is. The other main thread follows Saul and Leon, brothers who grew up in an orphanage, run away and end up founding a religious group that asks Fraser to a big conference in Atlanta. How he gets there and how Saul and Leon come to start their group is explored in the following chapters with brief check-ins with George. I really admire the writing style, particularly the asides in which the author tells us things about the characters, their ancestors, and odd connections between them and then says, "of course he didn't know that." There are myriad literary and pop culture references, but he veils them in an amusing way: a starlet called Meg Roberts, a playwright called Anthony Boyd-Webster, etc.I really want there to be a sequel to this, as I feel like it wasn't quite resolved, however I don't know that there's enough material for a whole 'nother book, maybe one that features or cameos some of these characters. I don't know. Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. I recommend it.more
Sometimes I start composing my Goodreads reviews in my head as I'm reading. In this case, I started off thinking that Ferguson's experience as a drummer and a comic are evident in his writing. The first chapter is delightfully rhythmic; it almost begs to be read aloud. His characterizations of young George and Fraser are brisk, efficient and spot-on. There was definite 5-star potential here. After a couple of chapters, though, I realized that this was reminding me more and more of A Confederacy of Dunces. I hated that book. I couldn't quite put my finger on the similarities (probably because I've tried to purge Dunces from my memory), but it probably has to do with the meandering, often absurd plot, plus an almost total lack of character development. Ferguson has a gift for capturing the essence of his characters in just a sentence or two, but then simply throws events at them -- like crafting a lovely pinata only to spend the rest of the day whacking it with a broomstick. Which I suppose is the point of a pinata, and which I also suppose is why this novel kinda works anyway. Recommended for anyone who liked Dunces.more
Irreverent and satirical. A carnival of preachers, actors, lovers, story tellers and Carl Jung, this novel is reminiscent of John Kennedy O'Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. Between the bridge and the river one finds redemption.more
I loved this book and couldn't believe A. that it came from TV's Craig Ferguson and B. that he hasn't written more books because he really needs to. I was completely blown away by this book, it had so many layers to it and so many ideas about spirituality, identity, existentialism, relationships. It could have easily went overboard and been bogged down by the various narratives, but somehow the interwoven storylines all came together to form a book that I can easily call one of my favorite reads ever. I would and have highly recommended it to others and just writing this makes me want to read it again.more
This is, in a lot of respects, the novel I wish I had the talent to have written. Ferguson explores several fascinating themes while refraining from passing judgment on his characters. Here's what I had to say in my literary blog about "Between the Bridge and the River":Fraser, a Scottish TV evangelist, leaves for America ahead of a career-destroying scandal. George, an estranged friend of his from childhood, is dying. Leon and Saul are transient brothers, trading on the former's charisma and talent and the latter's conniving to break into Hollywood. Uniting them are a series of events, the full meaning of which is only revealed to the reader.First-time author Ferguson weaves a fascinating tale of what he calls, "unexpected redemption." The pace of the novel is brisk, helped along by the brevity of the chapters (some are a mere two pages). In fact, at times it feels more like a collection of vignettes than a traditional novel; one can easily see Ferguson dashing off a chapter here or there, as his schedule and inspiration permitted. Given the philosophical and emotional density of some of the passages, it's actually nice to be able to turn the page and find a conveniently placed stopping point.There are some distractions throughout; Ferguson replaces real-life names of entertainment people and businesses with fictitious knock-offs (for obvious reasons). It might be impractical to cast either Meg Ryan or Julia Roberts in the novel, but the fictitious name Meg Roberts (an "America's sweetheart" type actress) is a bit of a speed bump in the middle of this story. In fact, I found myself frequently wishing to get through the passages devoted to Leon and Saul and return to those relating to George and Fraser. George's self-examination in light of impending death (and his unexpected affair with the alluring and captivating French Claudette) touches on one of the most important themes of them all: potential. Fraser, meanwhile, has his own epic story (including a recurring dream in which Carl Jung appears to him to analyze what's going on with him). In many ways, Fraser's story recalls Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and that's never a bad thing.more
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