24 January 2007

Niagara Falls All Over Again

It had been a while since I'd read a good story. Instead I'd been reading nature stuff, political stuff, magazines, newspapers, but hardly any fiction.

Didn't want anything too challenging, though. Not to put too fine a point on it, I wanted to be carried away.

Elizabeth McCracken's Niagara Falls All Over Again does just that. This is the story of a fictional vaudeville comedy duo--one fat, one thin--that transitions to legitimate theater, film, radio, and television. The tale is told in the wistful voice of the thin one, born Jewish in small-town Iowa, who ran away to vaudeville as a teen to escape a future as a shopkeeper.

What makes a good read? Engaging, fast-moving writing, compelling plot, characters you fall in love with... I stayed up past midnight to finish this one, and the next day my groggy brain was full of vivid images--as if I'd been up late watching a movie, not reading a book.

You don't need to be an Abbott and Costello fan to like this, either.

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