So Long at the Fair

Christi­na Schwarz
  • Review
By – January 26, 2012

Every char­ac­ter in Christi­na Schwarz’ newest nov­el, So Long at the Fair, is in a dys­func­tion­al rela­tion­ship, and there are many char­ac­ters and many rela­tion­ships. Yes, each strug­gles to find true love and per­son­al ful­fill­ment, but these self-indul­gent ego­tists man­age to look in all the wrong places and at all the wrong peo­ple. Their search results in a nov­el that is replete with love tri­an­gles and unre­quit­ed feelings.

Beneath the super­fi­cial­i­ty of these affairs, how­ev­er, are odd­ly philo­soph­i­cal ideas that appear to moti­vate, or per­haps explain, the actions of the char­ac­ters. One char­ac­ter, for instance, iden­ti­fies him­self as a per­son who cares more about how things func­tion than about how they look. Anoth­er won­ders whether it is more impor­tant to be hap­py than to be good. Still anoth­er char­ac­ter responds by claim­ing that some peo­ple believe being hap­py is the ulti­mate good.” Unfor­tu­nate­ly, no one in this nov­el is hap­py. Whether any are good is a mat­ter of opinion. 

Those look­ing for a light nov­el with a few twists, lots of small-town atti­tudes, and plen­ty of nat­ur­al Wis­con­sin imagery will find this nov­el enjoy­able and a quick read.

Malv­ina D. Engel­berg, an inde­pen­dent schol­ar, has taught com­po­si­tion and lit­er­a­ture at the uni­ver­si­ty lev­el for the past fif­teen years. She is a Ph.D. can­di­date at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Miami.

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