Niagara Falls All Over Again

Spanning the waning years of vaudeville and the golden age of Hollywood, Niagara Falls All Over Again chronicles a flawed, passionate friendship over thirty years, weaving a powerful story of family and love, grief and loss In it, McCracken introduces her most singular and affecting hero Mose Sharp son, brother, husband, father, friend and straight man to the fat gSpanning the waning years of vaudeville and the golden age of Hollywood, Niagara Falls All Over Again chronicles a flawed, passionate friendship over thirty years, weaving a powerful story of family and love, grief and loss In it, McCracken introduces her most singular and affecting hero Mose Sharp son, brother, husband, father, friend and straight man to the fat guy in baggy pants who utterly transforms his life.To the paying public, Mose Sharp was the arch, colorless half of the comedy team Carter and Sharp To his partner, he was charmed and charming, a confirmed bachelor who never failed at love and romance To his father and sisters, Mose was a prodigal son And in his own heart and soul, he would always be a boy who once had a chance to save a girl s life a girl who would be his first, and greatest, loss.Born into a Jewish family in small town Iowa, the only boy among six sisters, Mose Sharp couldn t leave home soon enough By sixteen Mose had already joined the vaudeville circuit But he knew one thing from the start I needed a partner, he recalls I had always needed a partner Then, an ebullient, self destructive comedian named Rocky Carter came crashing into his life and a thirty year partnership was born But as the comedy team of Carter and Sharp thrived from the vaudeville backwaters to Broadway to Hollywood, a funny thing happened amid the laughter It wasMose who had all the best lines offstage.Rocky would go through money, women, and wives in his restless search for love Mose would settle down to a family life marked by fragile joy and wrenching tragedy And soon, cracks were appearing in their complex relationship until one unforgivable act leads to another and a partnership begins to unravel.In a novel as daring as it is compassionate, Elizabeth McCracken introduces an indelibly drawn cast of characters from Mose s Iowa family to the vagabond friends, lovers, and competitors who share his dizzying journey as she deftly explores the fragile structures that underlie love affairs and friendships, partnerships and families.An elegiac and uniquely American novel, Niagara Falls All Over Again is storytelling at its finest and powerful proof that Elizabeth McCracken is one of the most dynamic and wholly original voices of her generation.
Niagara Falls All Over Again Spanning the waning years of vaudeville and the golden age of Hollywood Niagara Falls All Over Again chronicles a flawed passionate friendship over thirty years weaving a powerful story of family a

  • Title: Niagara Falls All Over Again
  • Author: Elizabeth McCracken
  • ISBN: 9780965293723
  • Page: 401
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Niagara Falls All Over Again”

    1. I came to this book at exactly the right time; I needed a book I could sink into. It's not radical or experimental, it won't change the direction of modern fiction or transform your view of the possibilities of narrative. But it's really, really good. It was a pure pleasure to read. The characterisation was wonderfully convincing. It tells the story of Carter and Sharp, a comedy team like Abbot and Costello or Laurel and Hardy, a fat funny man and skinny straight man. Mose (known as Mike profess [...]

    2. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. This is the story of a mid-twentieth century comedy act, told by the straight man. They start out in vaudeville and we learn about the arc of their success.It's a very tenderly told story of companionship and love, dependence and emancipation. It's marvelous, I highly recommend this book.This would make a great reading trilogy combined with Carter Beats the Devil and Water for Elephants - all are about people who work in the "golden age" of entertainment, and all [...]

    3. Don't be fooled into thinking that this story, because it revolves around the lives of two comedic actors, is funny. It is is a nostalgic tragedy, though not overblown, and compelling because of its very human (read: flawed) characters and the way their lives either burst with resilience or crumble into ruin. In the manner of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, it is the covers pulled off a creative collaboration and friendship between two talented men. In the manner of Freedom, it is [...]

    4. This is the "memoir" of Mose Sharp, a Jewish boy from Iowa who decides to make it big in Vaudeville. He struggles for a while but then he becomes the straight man to Rocky Carter, a loveable overweight comedian and the two of them eventually hit it big.While Rocky is the more popular one and the more funny one, Mose is the one who strikes it big off screen, getting married and finding stability. As their careers hit ups and downs and tragedies come and go in their personal lives, the friendship [...]

    5. I just couldn’t finish it. I started this book, and while it was ok, it just wasn’t very compelling for me. I stopped to read another book for my book club which totally captivated me and I thought - why finish a book just to finish it when when there are so many more enjoyable books to read? If you liked the book, good for you! That’s really the purpose for reading, isn’t it? Read what you enjoy, let the others go, don’t judge someone else’s taste!

    6. Hmmm. This story is about a a couple of vaudeville guys who work together for over twenty years. They start out on the stage, moving from one small venue to the next. They move on to radio, then the movies, and finally television. As one can imagine, their relationship was complicated: part married couple part friends, part rivals (both loved attention). They fought, they didn't speak, they got back together. The title comes from a skit the Three Stooges did. My brothers and I re-enacted that bi [...]

    7. The Golden Age of Hollywood will always be lovingly remembered for the emergence of the comedy duo. Those were the days of Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, and even the team of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. The formula for a good comedy duo was quite simple: one half of it was the buffoon, who delivered all the physical gags, and the remaining half was the straight man, who tried to remain unfazed by the former's antics. The formula worked so well that the trend even lasted through the sixties [...]

    8. I started this book several years ago, got sidetracked into other ventures and picked it up again last month. Elizabeth McCracken is another graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Ann Patchett is another, and the two are friends. I saw mention of McCracken in an interview of Ann Patchett some years ago, and read McCracken's novel, The Giant's House, as well as a collection of short stories, Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry? I recommend those books, as well as Niagara Falls.McCracken works the [...]

    9. Picked this up from the library after seeing Cranky's 4 star rating and seeing someone else comment "if you like The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, you may like this". Both novels follow the stories of two young men in the entertainment industry in the first half of the 20th century, but this novel is more concrete and a bit more humourous. Not surprising, as the main characters are a comedy duo (Carter and Sharp) who start their careers in vaudeville, then move on to radio, the movi [...]

    10. I hate to say it, but as a reader, I'm very shallow. I prefer story-driven books. Fascinating characters are a plus, but won't hook me by themselves. And if I'm told I should read a book just because it's well-written, I feel like a kid with a plate of vegetables plunked in front of him who's told, "Eat up! They're good for you." "Niagara Falls All Over Again" caught my attention with the subject matter: the story of a comedy duo rise through vaudeville, radio, movies and television, and their i [...]

    11. Read this book while up in the mountains, and while I did like it, and the story captivated me while reading it, I'm hard-pressed to identify the elements of the book that actually captured me. Maybe the fact my father was a Vaudeville star? Maybe the elements of Jewish history in the early 20th century? Maybe early days of radio, movies and TV? Maybe the characters themselves, the love story and the life story. Or perhaps the writing, the telling of this story of two partners in comedy, their t [...]

    12. **** 1/2I really loved this book and I wish more people knew Elizabeth McCracken. I found her by chance when I read The Giant's House several years ago, a book that has always stayed with me. In Niagara Falls All Over Again, McCracken creates very real characters and I especially fell for Mike/Mose, the narrator of the story. The story of his relationships, especially the one with his partner Rocky, felt so real with all of the ups and downs real life relationships face. There is a lot of grief [...]

    13. Loved this book. I remember it had a great quote in it, about when you dream that a loved one who has died is alive, and then you wake up to and must realize all over again that the loved one is still dead: "I never know if it's the meanest trick God plays on us, or the purest form of his love."

    14. If you liked The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, you'll enjoy this book. McCracken develops a complicated and wonderful relationship between the comedy duo of Carter and Sharp, and follows them as their lives unfold, while bringing you into the world of vaudeville.

    15. This just happened to push all my story buttons - love and dysfunctional families, the thin to disappearing line between love and the closest partnerships/frienships, to name a few - and it was funny and amusing and yet broke my heart in several ways

    16. This book is not mindblowningly inventive or especially magical, but I had a great time reading it and it had a lot of touching moments. Glad I discovered it. Niagara Falls All Over Again is about fictional comedy duo Carter and Sharp. The story is narrated by Mose Sharp---the "straight man" in the entertaining partnership--- who takes the reader from the days of vaudeville to Hollywood, radio, TV and their washed up years. Although this is about show business, it's more about Rocky Carter and M [...]

    17. This a story for the sake of a story, nothing transcendent or meaningful or redemptive. While this book is ultimately a story of friendship, it was not a relationship that mattered for me. The characters were so self-absorbed lacking in self-reflection, just really uninteresting. The story felt like a retread that wasn't that interesting to begin with. While the book follows the development of 20th century America, it lacked any real insight or emotional connection.

    18. This story is told by the "straight man" of a comedy duo, from their start in vaudeville to Hollywood fame. I suspect these characters are drawn from a mix of real comics from the early years of entertainment. The author mixed in bits of humor and sprinkled her story with familiar Hollywood names.I have mixed feelings about the story. Parts of it were superb, other parts didn't appeal to me much. The book received numerous literary kudos, so my opinion might be among the minority.

    19. This is actually 4 and a half stars. I never thought I'd be interested in the back story of a vaudeville duo, but man was I invested in these guys. Every minor character was so richly drawn I would read spin off stories about all of them. Despite some middling parts at the very beginning, this had me from beginning to end

    20. What a surprising delight. Elizabeth McCracken effectively conjures the intensity and complexity of relationships (not necessarily romantic) without feeling cloying or condescending. Her characters have a substance and density to them that seems rare in fiction.

    21. For me the subject matter was decidedly odd, being about an American comedy duo who worked their way through vaudeville, film, radio and TV. They were funny men, the book is not. But it was a brilliant read for me. Another of those books that sat on the shelf for far too long.

    22. I loved The Giant's House, so I was excited to read something else by Elizabeth McCracken. But this underwhelmed me. It had the potential of being s theater version of kavalier & clay (a personal favorite), but fell short.

    23. Elizabeth McCracken's novel, Niagara Falls All Over Again, is the complete package: strong plot, well developed characters, and several story lines which tie together well. There are so many ways in which this novel could have gone wrong, the fact that MckCracken pulls it off is a testament to her skill.The novel is told to us by Moses Sharp, and Midwestern Jewish boy from a small town, who grows up to be the straight man in a highly successful comedy team. From his time on the vaudeville circui [...]

    24. Just as McCracken showed us the world of librarianship, here she offers a peep at the exotic traveling life of vaudeville in the early and mid 1900's. Jewish Midwesterner Moses Sharp narrates his experience as the straight man professor to fat funnyman Rocky Carter on radio, stage and screen in a long and successful partnership that is wrought with argument, compromise, affairs, and hard work, like any marriage of two minds. Although McCracken may limit her audience with her choice of topic and [...]

    25. Mose (Mike) Sharp grows up in Iowa working with his Jewish father in their men's wear shop. But Mose and his sister Hattie want to be in vaudeville. Then she falls for a guy and wants to go to college, betraying her brother and her dreams. She ends up falling off the roof of their house and dying. Mose had tried to catch her, but failed. Mose go to vaude himself and comedian Rocky snags him to be the straight man to his fat, funny self. Very slapstick and very successful. While everyone seems to [...]

    26. While I didn't like this book as much as The Giant's House, I still really liked it. There's just something about McCracken's writing that lures me in every time, and keeps me reading. I liked to see myself feeling compassionate for "the lady's man" and then seeing him turn into a family man, giving up his long-time partner and his stardom for what is really important--his family. There was something very touching about journeying through Mose Sharp's life. Despite his failures and inadequacies, [...]

    27. This is another book-swapping book, one that sounded interesting from the blurb and so I took a chance on it and quite enjoyed what I found!It's a book about vaudeville, and particularly written from the perspective of a small-town boy from Iowa whose father wants him to take over the family tailoring business but the smell of the greasepaint beckons. This particular individual ends up as a straight man in a double act, first on the stage, then radio and the movies, then finally television.Meanw [...]

    28. I enjoyed this author's voice and there were a few really lovely sentences and passages, but overall I was unable to really get into this story. I got 3/4 of the way there and skimmed the rest. It's written in the first person, which usually is not a problem for me, but I never feel like I ever really got a hold of the main character. And for a book that is supposed to take place during the time between the end of the Vaudeville era and the beginning the cultural influences of movies , I wasn't [...]

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