By turns graceful and knowing, funny and moving, Niagara Falls All Over Again is the latest masterwork by National Book Award finalist and author of The Giant’s House, Elizabeth McCracken.
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 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.
|Product dimensions:||6.34(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.28(d)|
About the Author
Elizabeth McCracken is the recipient of the Harold Vursell Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the PEN/Winship Award. She has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, and Michener foundation, the Fine Arts Center in Provincetown, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She was also honored as one of Granta’s 20 Best Writers Under 40.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Well written tale of the lives of two different yet similar men. Very engrossing
NIAGRA FALLS ALL OVER AGAIN By Elizabeth McCracken This is a golden find for an inveterate reader, such as myself. There are always a group of books awaiting me, many to which I never paid much attention, until I began reading. My mind is open and easily excited when something special comes along. This book -- Niagra Falls All Over Again by Elizabeth McCracken, captured my imagination. Surprising was the fact, that the book is a novel. As I was reading, I actually "Googled" into my computer, wanting to know more about the characters. Then I happened to check into the beginning of the book, advising that this is definitely a novel. The book begins with a very tiny Midwest town in Iowa and some of the Jewish residents who settled there after their escape from their difficult lives in Eastern Europe. They struggled with big families to make ends meet, build new lives, and to give their children a good upbringing and education. Mose is the only son, along with six daughters. He is a gentle soul, helping his father in his business. Mose had dreams and followed his heart to finally make it in the world of vaudeville. The time is in the early to mid Twentieth Century. The place was Iowa. The Great Depression played a great part in the struggle of the people. During these times Mose met Rocky, they became partners and close friends. They married, raised families, and wound up in the world of Radio, Stage, Screen and Television. The book is written with much humor, sadness, and human kindness. It is so human, that it could have been in the lives of anyone who reads, and perhaps finds a father, grandfather, great-grandfather, to match these lovely people. No one is perfect! There is tragedy, great love and friendship. The reader will not be able to put the book aside, without thinking about what they are experiencing, as they relax and quickly grab the book to re-enter into these lives. There is no violence. If the reader is looking for blood and violence, this not for him. This is out of the ordinary of what reaches the new bookshelves these days. Everyone should enter this world in our recent past. Enjoy, laugh and cry a little!
I really enjoyed this book. The characters were well-developed and realistic. Funny one-liners! I learned a lot about the business of vaudeville. The relationship between the two main characters was interesting. I would highly recommend this book.
I was deeply affected by Niagara Falls All Over Again. It gave what appeared to be a genuine account of vaudvillian comics as the entertainment industry evolved into the film and TV world. But the book was much more than a study of professional comics; comedy was a metaphor for life. It was a book about relationships; how the most difficult might also be the most meaningful. If you read as a way to help you think about things, then I would very highly recommend this book.
I saw this book written up in the BN New Fiction Newsletter and my interest was piqued enough to read it. I was impressed by the author's writing as well as her ability to weave a good story. Her characters were interesting, but sad (the whole book was sad, really). I would have liked more information about Jessica in general as well as more about her feelings in regards to Mose's/Mike's/The Professor's career and what life in Hollywood was like for her. In the right hands, this book could be made into a good movie.