Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge” as Want to Read:
Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  299 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
The long-awaited second collection of stories from a writer whose first was hailed as "one of the best story collections of the last decade" (Kevin Brockmeier).

In LAST CAR OVER THE SAGAMORE BRIDGE, Peter Orner presents a kaleidoscope of individual lives viewed in intimate close-up. A woman's husband dies before their divorce is finalized; a man runs for governor and loses
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,233)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
This book is all about "silence on a fundamental level."

How do you talk about silence, creation of silence, enduring silence, observation of silence when all you have is words?

How is it, really, that we aren't "in a permanent state of mourning?"

There are no superfluous words, no extra pages.

I could, and may, write a review only about the title story.

I sit here like Walt Kaplan thinking. What's Walt Kaplan trying to get to? Silence on a fundamental level? A story told five hundred times, but s
Robert Vaughan
Jan 17, 2016 Robert Vaughan rated it it was amazing
Orner's collection of short stories is a stunning achievement. First of all, just to get a review in the Sunday New York Times, of a short story collection? Unheard of! Then, I heard Orner interviewed on Brad Listi's (The Nervous Breakdown) Other People radio show, and Orner sounded so down to earth, a nice guy with Midwestern roots, fumbling his way through life as we all are. And finally, a fellow writer in my writer's roundtable recommended the collection to me, personally.

This book is ambit
Sep 17, 2013 Neal rated it it was amazing
From my Amazon Best Books of the Month review, August 2013: Peter Orner’s exquisite second collection of stories rambles across time and place, from postwar 1947 to 1978 to 1958, from Chappaquiddick to Chicago to the Czech Republic, each exposing a small, intimate moment. Like an uncomfortably candid photograph (the work of William Eggleston or Vivian Maier comes to mind), the stories are finite and tightly framed, some just a page or two. Some are whimsical, some sobering, and most conclude wit ...more
Aug 11, 2013 Wanda rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaway, first-reads
I received a copy of this collection of short stories compliments of Goodreads Firstreads giveaway. The title sounded intriguing, the cover photo captured my interest, however, the stories within failed to entertain me. I was confused by most of the stories, not knowing what the take-home theme/message was or if there even was to be one. Many seemed like they just stopped mid-thought. Some of it read more like poetry, a bunch of thoughts placed on paper that didn't go anywhere. I am clearly not ...more
Aug 07, 2013 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-lovers
I received this from Goodreads. There, with that out of the way, here's what I thought.
I did not think I'd really like this book. I am not really a fan of short stories. However, from the first story, I was hooked. These are very well written and extremely moving.
This is a book for adults. Each story led me to feelings I recognized and a deep understanding of the situations. This is a really excellent book, even if a bit sad.
I recommend.
Ryan Mishap
Jan 07, 2015 Ryan Mishap rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
Back in Chicago after years away, the disbelief with which he met the death of his parents lingered like a childhood dream. He'd been fumbling around the attic for an hour now, telling his sister and her odious husband that he wanted to look for a memento, some piece of their memories, but really to just get away. Hand dragging down his face, he looked around again at the dusty junk, the cardboard boxes, abandoned golf clubs, and stacks of books and files. Opening a box at random, he was surpri ...more
Aug 07, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
“Hush, Luster said. Looking for them ain’t going to do no good, they’re gone.”

Among contemporary writers, only Peter Orner would be brilliant and witty and nostalgic and original and ballsy enough to tuck this highly charged allusion to Faulkner’s THE SOUND AND THE FURY late into his masterful new collection of stories, LAST CAR OVER THE SAGAMORE BRIDGE, as the haunting epigraph to Part IV, “The Country of Us.” In one way or another, most of Orner’s more than fifty new stories, look unflinchingl
Jul 28, 2013 Teresa rated it really liked it
An excellent collection of short stories by award-winning author Peter Orner. Each story ranges in length from a short paragraph to several pages long.

First off, I confess I don't often read short stories, as it's just not my favourite literary form. I tend to fall in love with some aspect of the story, be it character, plot, or setting and I don't want it to end. With that being said, I found the themes in many of the stories contained in the collection to be very, well, depressing. There's no
Nov 18, 2014 William rated it really liked it
I liked this collection better that "The Esther Stories." Reading them singly, a number were touching, mostly about what has been lost and what remains in relationships. But while Orner has carefully organized and categorized these stories into groups, their affinity in each group eluded me.

The impact is clearly meant to be universal. The 53 stories take place in fourteen different US states in all regions of the country, as well as Mexico City, Puerto Rico, Moscow, Rome, Prague, Dubrovnik and B
Jan 25, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing
There is an excellent review below by Neal Thompson that echoes how I felt about this book. Amazing that an author is able to wring more emotion out of a two paragraph short story than many others can do in a 400 page novel.
Jan 06, 2014 Matthew rated it really liked it
Some stories are stronger than others, which is bound to happen in any book that features 52 stories in under 200 pages. Lots of death, lots of the twentieth century, lots of Chicago and, oddly, Fall River. I liked it quite a bit in the end, though the blurb on the back cover praising the two-page Geraldo story was maybe a little misleading..
Sep 19, 2013 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received an ARC through First Reads.

In this compilation of short stories, Orner writes stories that is one paragraph in length, and others that are five pages in length. Regardless, nearly each one had me invested by the end of the first or second sentence. For all of the past books that took 200 pages to get going, take a lesson from Orner: Be concise and truthful. Excellent book and I would recommend this to any reader who is tired of graciously giving authors 100+ pages to get their reader
Jan 23, 2016 Top rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, stories, english
"Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge" by Peter Orner is an interesting collection of fifty short stories.

Stories are divided into four parts: "Survivors", "The Normal", "In Moscow Everything Will Be Different" and "Country of Us", the main motive being a connection between our childhood and adulthood, and how confusing is for kids to understand confusing world of adults.

Although some of stories are made only of paragraph and others are several pages long they all tell stories about human emotions
Apr 16, 2014 Toshio rated it it was amazing
Once again an impressive collection from Peter Orner. It's refreshing to read a collection of stories that don't necessarily always have to have a unifying theme or characters, although some of the stories in this collection do.

What I enjoy most about the stories is how Orner will have a laser sharp focus on a particular moment in time--maybe a family memory or story that's been passed down through the years and then he'll distill that moment down to its core leaving the reader with a profound
Aug 22, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I absolutely loved this book (and am giving it to a friend who teaches 9th grade literature for read alouds for his class). So much happens in so few pages which are written beautifully to give you all you need for the atmosphere, emotions and action which occur in each story. This would also be a great book for those of you with a short commute, limited bedtime reading, or anyone who wants a great read with major time limitations. Reco ...more
Sep 20, 2014 Tarah rated it liked it
This book is beautifully written-prose that are emotionally compelling. My three stars are about two things: 1) me, 2) the book.

1) I've never really taken to short stories. With the exception of Sherman Alexie, I have a hard time getting into short story collections, or even stand alone short stories. Which is weird given my fleeting attention span these days. But as a genre writ larger (ha- or writ small, as it were), short stories seem to be trying a bit too hard to pack an emotional punch in
May 02, 2016 Joe rated it liked it
I was not a huge fan of this collection, but I suspect the problem was me and not Peter Orner’s work, and there are certainly a number of stories and concepts I would absolutely recommend.

He’s written a series of very brief stories exploring things like what it means to survive the loss of a loved one and especially a loved one you would expect to outlive and how we conduct our relationships with the dead, how we fulfill our unfinished business with them; how we interact with what’s normal and w
Deniz Kuypers
Jun 19, 2014 Deniz Kuypers rated it really liked it
2013 was het jaar van het dikke boek. Eleanor Catton won de Man Booker met haar meer dan achthonderd pagina’s tellende The Luminaries en stond op de longlist met The Kills van Richard House, dat meer dan duizend pagina’s telt. Donna Tartt vulde er zevenhonderd met The Goldfinch en Philipp Meyer zeshonderd met The Son. Om over Knausgård nog maar te zwijgen. Daarom is het opmerkelijk dat een van de beste boeken van vorig jaar uit tweeënvijftig korte verhalen bestaat, verspreid over tweehonderd pag ...more
Brianna Soloski
Aug 03, 2013 Brianna Soloski rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge by Peter Orner 4/5 stars
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company Length: 208 pages Format: Paperback

Goodreads: In LAST CAR OVER THE SAGAMORE BRIDGE, Peter Orner presents a kaleidoscope of individual lives viewed in intimate close-up. A woman's husband dies before their divorce is finalized; a man runs for governor and loses much more than the election; two brothers play beneath the infamous bridge at Chappaquiddick; a father and daughter outrun a hurricane--all are
Aug 06, 2013 Daniel rated it really liked it
I received an advanced reading copy of this from the publisher via the Goodreads First-reads giveaway program.

There is a form of religious book called the 'devotional'. One reads a selection from the holy text and then a brief commentary or anecdote related to that selection. I really have never liked devotionals. I don't mind reading a selection, but usually find those commentaries and remarks to be weak, obvious, overwrought, and simplistic. They never match the beauty of the original passages
Jul 26, 2013 Melinda rated it liked it
I received an advance copy through Good Reads.

This collection of short stories was certainly interesting. Some stories left me wanting for more, and some stories left me confused (where I had to re-read several times to pick up on the subtle hints).

This is the first time I have read Peter Orner's books. While I enjoy his writing style and story telling methods, there are times where the stories where I felt like the stories were left a little too open ended or are too short to make any sense. H
Aug 03, 2013 Terri rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge by Peter Orner is a beautifully written collection of short stories that get to the base of human emotion and interaction. While some of the stories are pages long, others are as short as a paragraph, but still leave the reader with a powerful image to take away. Most of the stories center around Midwestern locations and Midwestern residents, which provides a certain atmosphere that other areas of the country just don't have.

I enjoyed Orner's style of writing,
Aug 13, 2013 Joe rated it really liked it
I Review Peter Orner’s Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge

Characters, or their relatives, from Orner’s previous stories drop by; other stories portray the personal reminiscences of new characters. Orner is a devotee of the short story and writes the column “The Lonely Voice,” named after Frank O’Connor’s book, over at The Rumpus. In this book, Orner pays literary props and shout-outs to writers he admires and shares writerly bonds with like Isaac Babel, George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, and John Chee
Sep 08, 2013 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Wow. Pretty great. Really great, actually. I read this in one day—the stories are all pretty short (5 pages at most, maybe, half a page at the shortest). Orner gets you into the scene immediately, and then creates little snapshots, leaving you with either a poignant image, or a laugh, or something in between. I swear I read Orner's last novel, but I guess I didn't; I will now. This was really good. Dangerous, as he makes it seem pretty easy—it's the sort of thing you read and think Hey, I could ...more
Aug 31, 2014 Alvin rated it really liked it
Orner is one of those rare writers who can capture the grave import within fleeting moments of dislocation and the mythic legend within suburban gossip. He's at his best with what I would guess are his semi-autobiographical stories, while a few of the historical pieces didn't ring true to me. Overall, though, a brilliant collection.
Alan Jordan
Jul 18, 2013 Alan Jordan rated it it was ok
I won this book in a Good Reads/First Reads giveaway.

Received my copy of Last Car yesterday and was reading it within the hour. I had been anticipating its coming since I was told I had won a copy. This book is a very hard read. The "stories" are anywhere from two paragraphs to five pages. They are totally disjointed with no apparent link between any of them. The writing style itself is very difficult for me to follow filled with random thoughts, dialogue and repetition. It seems the subject wil
Mar 19, 2014 Judy rated it it was ok
I like short stories. As you finish one, whether you enjoyed it or not, curiosity draws you into the next one. Some didn't make any sense to me but others were meaningful, as long as you get into the rhythm of not expecting a clear beginning and ending.
Dec 20, 2014 Lori rated it really liked it
Isn't it great when you pick up a collection of short stories so well written that you have to stop yourself from starting all over again? This is one of those books. Go on - get this book, read this book, you will thank me later.
Susan Rothenberg
Apr 01, 2016 Susan Rothenberg rated it really liked it
I was very taken with how much of a story was told in so few words. There were a couple I had to reread to pick up all of the details, but on the whole a very well done book of short stories, some of which were quite poetic.
Rachelle Wallace
Sep 20, 2015 Rachelle Wallace rated it really liked it
Strangely interesting. Some of the short stories take a few minutes to recover from which it quite impressive seeing as they are only a few pages long. I'm really glad I picked this one up.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 41 42 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Tell Everyone I Said Hi
  • There's Something I Want You to Do
  • The House at Belle Fontaine
  • The Emerald Light in the Air: Stories
  • The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories
  • So Much a Part of You
  • Happiness Is a Chemical in the Brain: Stories
  • Circus
  • Stay Up With Me
  • The Heaven of Animals: Stories
  • A Permanent Member of the Family
  • Damage Control: Stories
  • See You in Paradise: Stories
  • Famous Fathers and Other Stories
  • Starting Over: Stories
  • The Tao of Humiliation
  • The Development
  • Middle Men: Stories
Peter Orner was born in Chicago and is the author of three novels: Esther Stories (Houghton Mifflin, 2001), The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo (Little, Brown, 2006), and his most recent, Love and Shame and Love (Little, Brown, 2011) which was recently called epic by Daniel Handler, "...epic like Gilgamesh, epic like a guitar solo." (Orner has since bought Gilgamesh and is enjoying it.) Love and ...more
More about Peter Orner...

Share This Book

“That’s it. I’m asking you, I’m really asking you—how is it possible that we aren’t in a permanent state of mourning?” 1 likes
“Would my head were a head of lettuce. I drove the last car over the Sagamore Bridge before the state police closed it off. The Cape Cod Canal all atempest beneath. No cars coming, no cars going. The bridge cables flapping like rubber bands. You think in certain circumstances a few thousand feet of bridge isn’t a thousand miles? The hurricane wiped out Dennis. Horace thanked God for insurance. I saved our little girl. You want me to say, Hurrah! Hurrah! but I can’t, I won’t, because to save her once isn’t to save her, and still she thumps as if the world was something thumpable. As if it wasn’t silence on a fundamental level. Yap on, wife, yap on. Thump, daughter, thump. Louder, Orangutan, louder. I can’t hear you.” 0 likes
More quotes…