Friday, September 5, 2008

So Long at the Fair - Christina Schwarz

Christina Schwarz's latest from Random House takes place in small town Wisconsin. This is also the setting for her Oprah tagged, best selling novel Drowning Ruth.

The entire novel takes place over the course of one day. Jon is having an affair with Freddi, a woman her works with. His wife of many years, Ginny, senses that something is a bit off, but chooses to ignore her feelings. This is the day that Jon decides to end either his marriage or his affair.

Scattered throughout the book are chapters from the past. Ginny and Jon live in the same town they grew up in . Their families live there as well. These past chapters slowly expose secrets over the course of the book that are affecting the present. I did find this a bit distracting as I had to flip back and forth to make sure I was tracking the backstory correctly. The characters from the past are introduced into the present, but you really have to be on your toes to catch who's who.

Schwarz's forté is the exploration of relationships. Her dialogues expertly expose the hidden feelings, desires and failures of her characters. Her descriptions of both people and settings draw strong pictures. So Long at the Fair ends ambiguously. Each reader will draw their own conclusion. I did find the cover art ambigous as well. After reading the book, I found the title to be a bit of an uninspired afterthought as well.

1 comment:

Traci said...

This is in my ever growing stack of to be read books, but I'm finding that with each review I read I'm feeling less and less inclined to pick it up. I really hate open-ended stories.