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The Company Car

3.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  99 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Both comically tragic and touching, this novel is a sweeping, generational saga about a family caught in the changing landscape of American life.
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published May 17th 2005 by Random House (NY) (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 145)
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Oct 12, 2008 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was curious to read this novel since CJ Hribal was my teacher at Marquette University when I took a fiction writing workshop in 2001. He pushed me to write in a stronger style and voice than I ever had before that time, and I'm proud of what I produced while in his class.

Therefore, my review is biased. It was simply exciting to read fiction by someone I know, plus the story takes place in the Western Chicago suburbs where I grew up, as well as in Wisconsin where I lived for awhile. I related t
May 31, 2010 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another story of growing up in the Midwest in thte 1960s, large family, middle income. But - this one has a very philosophical discussion about marriage, staying married, dealing with the ups and downs life deals out. Extremely well written. There are many sentences that I stopped and reread over and over again.
Mar 23, 2009 Hillery rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book. It is the type of book I usually enjoy. However, I could never really get into it. The author seemed unsure as to whose story he was telling. Was it the story of the (now elderly) parents and their marriage? Was it the story of the narrator (one of the now grown sons) and his marriage? Was it the story of the narrator and his siblings as children? Who knows? While told by one of the sons, the book lacked a point of view. As a result, I never really cared about any of ...more
I felt like I was listening to my father; this author got almost every cliche I heard throughout my childhood. He missed "the birds are flying low tonight" and "off we go into the wild blue yonder" (you'd think my dad had been in the Air Force but actually he was Navy and we were "decked" as kids, not "grounded") But he pretty much got everything else.
All of these things were said by the main character's father Wally, a kind of larger than life salesman who travels all around his territories sel
Feb 17, 2008 Diane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wisconsin author fanatics
Recommended to Diane by: Author '06 & '07 Reader's Retreat speaker
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 26, 2009 Clare rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book! Every character had an interesting back-story. Hribal does a great job of bringing together interesting people in unusual circumstances. Couldn't put the book down b/c I wanted to see what would happen next.

Hribal brings to life many issues about marriage and family life that we all experience, but often have difficulty expressing and often we wonder, "is this normal?" as we're reflecting on our relationships. Very insightful & relevant to us all.

C.J. Hribal was my creative writi
Jun 23, 2008 Kevin rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The large family saga allows the writer to explore much more than mores against birth control; in 'The Company Car' C.J. Hribal isn't shy about pitting the Czabeks against the increasingly intangible American dream.

The narrative jumps between the modern day observations of one of the grown children and the memories of his childhood, but the events of the past were never spoiled, even though the reader has a sense of where the things will end up.

Watch for the announcement at the end - and not the
Sue Smith
About a 3.5 stars. At some points the author was too wordy and trendy to go way off point.
Nov 16, 2007 Lyn rated it it was amazing
Just started this novel by a professor of English at Marquette University. It's set in a fictional town in the Fox Valley. Looks good so far but you know I'll finish it even if it's a stinker. I'm such a sucker for a Wisconsin author.

Finished this and loved the characters and relationships but not sure about the ending. I don't always need for a story to be tied up neatly at the end, but this one left me rather confused. Hope someone else here reads it and shares their thoughts.
Kim Michlin
I wanted to like it- usually so inspired by that generation. The book just ended up being long and full of stories that didn't seem to have a point. Parts if it was beautifully written, while other times it dragged on. I kept waiting for something meaningful to come out of all the depressing stories, but it never came. I guess that it's like life in that sense.
Aug 24, 2012 Kberger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the past I have been stingy with how many stars I give books, so I'm probably being an inconsistent judge when I give this five stars. Maybe I'm just overjoyed at reading a novel that takes place in Wisconsin.

The book is at times like American Pie, and other times like Death of a Salesman. The combination of funny and serious stuff worked for me.

Mar 08, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i was sold on this book because richard russo wrote a blurb for a book jacket. it is very russo-ish; i like that. much of it seems heartbreakingly real, and much is quirky, clever and, now and then, quite funny. i'm not sure how i feel about the book's conclusion, but i certainly enjoyed the bumpy ride in the company car.
Aug 21, 2008 Chris rated it liked it
great blend of memoir and fiction; good balancing act with so many characters; feel good big family midwestern story of bros and sisters grown up...but not, really
Mar 25, 2009 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It takes place with a family living in a Chicago suburb and then the father moves them to Wisconsin. I wish he would write more books!
Sea Stachura
Dec 02, 2007 Sea Stachura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
CJ writes with humor and grace. I laughed out loud throughout the book. If you're from Wisconsin, you'll recognize not just the places but the people.
May 08, 2012 Gretta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Forced myself to finish this, felt like it was very repetitive. Was pulling for the local author but just isnt one I'd recommend.
Sara Kuhl
Sep 08, 2009 Sara Kuhl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this story. Love the family. Laugh out loud funny in places. If you live in the Midwest, this book is a must read!
Alli Pedersen
Dec 30, 2012 Alli Pedersen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A realistic-feeling two-generation family epic. Set in Chicago and WI with a honeymoon in Madison :-)
Jul 30, 2010 Sally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wasn't great, but I liked it. Author's writing style took a little getting used to.
Apr 06, 2009 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny, I could relate to it as friends migrated to Wis. also.
Nov 22, 2008 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good but needed editing.
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