Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bread Upon the Waters” as Want to Read:
Bread Upon the Waters
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bread Upon the Waters

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  713 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
The Stands are a self-reliant family in New York City. Far from wealthy they are still reasonably content with their life until one night when their teenage daughter helps a wealthy and lonely Wall Street lawyer. Out of gratitude the lawyer showers the family with gifts and money. The Strands find their lives altered and not necessarily for the best.
Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Published July 1st 1982 by Dell (first published 1981)
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 Bread Upon the Waters, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bread Upon the Waters

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,275)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 18, 2008 Jason rated it really liked it
This book is an ambitious attempt to chronicle the social entropy that can pull even loving people away from each other. The story follows Allen Strand, a New York City public high school history teacher, as he tries to negotiate the formidable challenges that circumstance visits on him. At the outset, his family unit is tightly knit--his 17 year old daughter, Caroline, still lives at home and the other two (slightly older) children, Jimmy and Eleanor, are in close contact--and Strand harbors a ...more
Lorraine Cobcroft
Dec 13, 2013 Lorraine Cobcroft rated it it was amazing
Shaw at his brilliant best! It made me feel dreadfully inadequate as a writer, but I couldn't put the book down, and, having read it, I know it's a book I'll come back and re-read.

Shaw moralizes some in this story, but he exposes irrefutable truths about life, money, aspirations, priorities, parenting, families, the class structure, and the differences between generations.

It's a book I wish I'd read some years ago, before I made some of the mistakes I regret in communication with my offspring.
Zoya Dimitrova
Jul 27, 2014 Zoya Dimitrova rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Харесвам стила на Шоу, неговите герои и начина, по който се променят техните съдби. И тук, както в романа “Богат, беден” основна тема са парите и как те променят живота на хората. Отварят много врати, дават неподозирани възможности, но същевременно и отнемат много. Заслужава ли си да се поддадеш на изкушението и къде е границата, когато трябва да спреш, за да не загубиш свойте ценности и душевност…
Oct 22, 2014 Petya rated it really liked it
Книгата ми попадна в много подходящ момент. Явно ми се четеше точно такова нещо! Хубавите ми впечатления от сериала "Богат, беден", който съм гледала като дете по време на соц-а, бяха на практика единствената ми представа за автора. И в "Хляб по водите" Ъруин Шоу разглежда любимите си теми, познати от "Богат, беден" - за материалното преуспяване в живота и неговата роля и значение за щастието на човек; за семейството, взаимоотношенията и тяхната роля за оценка качеството на живота на човек. Теми ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Checkman rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama
One of Shaw's last novels. It's a simple story about a middle-class family that unexpectedly finds itself with a wealthy benefactor. He showers them with gifts ,of one type or another, and it essentially ruins the family.

As has been pointed out by another reviewer this novel is heavy with the feeling of mortality and end of life issues. Shaw died in 1984 - just three years after this novel was published. Was he already ill when he wrote this book? I don't know. Was he just aware of his own appr
Sep 10, 2015 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rebecca by: Jason Gipstein
In the tradition of Agee's A Death in the Family, or Guest's Ordinary People, this is a book about a family's whose life changes drastically after their tennis-playing teenage daughter becomes an unlikely hero one evening in Central Park. Driven by this one catalyst, the events that play out for the Strand Family become like dominoes, each one building momentum as they fall against each other.

Shaw does a masterful job with the narrative rhythm, careful not to show his hand too soon. This might i
Ronald Wise
Jul 27, 2011 Ronald Wise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A New York public school teacher seems to be content in dealing with the challenges of his job and watching his three children mature, when his daughter saves the live of a very wealthy man, whose displays of gratitude change everything. Ironically this book was depressing for this middle-aged reader, though it would probably take a man of middle age to really appreciate this book to its fullest. End-of-life issues were prominent in this book and the author died three years after its publication ...more
After a slow start this book grabbed my attention and I became involved. The best part was the lessons we take away at the end. Believe it or not, money REALLY does not buy happiness! Even sharing that money with less fortunate folks does not always bring happiness to either party! After finishing the book one truly understands the moral of the story.
Деница Райкова
Well, it was actually the second time I read this book. The first time was maybe fifteen years ago. And, of course, it's different now. Maybe it's strange but the first time I liked it more. When I first read it I viewed it just as an interesting book by a great author. Now it was interesting again because I had forgotten some things; but I also felt some unexpected sadness and bitternes. I still liked it but in a different way.
Mark R.
Apr 12, 2016 Mark R. rated it really liked it
Irwin Shaw had a real talent for writing about families (never better than in the epic “Rich Man, Poor Man” and its follow-up “Beggarman, Thief”). “Bread Upon the Waters” spans more than a year in the life of the Strand family, as they are the recipients of a great generosity that eventually dooms them.

Allen Strand makes a respectable living as a history teacher in the New York public school system. He and his wife, Leslie, who gives piano lessons in their apartment, are mostly happy. His oldes
Jul 06, 2014 Emanuela rated it liked it
the entire book is very easy to read and quite interesting, but I'd preferred a focus on the character of Russell Hazen instead of the Strand family, in order to understand better his problems and circumstances that brought to his death.
Dec 05, 2014 Ron rated it really liked it
Irwin Shaw is probably best known for his classic World War II novel "The Young Lions" published in 1948. In "Bread Upon the Waters", written more than 35 years later, Shaw tells the story of a middle class New York City family who's lives are interrupted, then changed forever by a chance encounter with a wealthy, powerful corporate attorney. Slowly each member of the family is drawn unwittingly by this dominate, controlling personality into making dramatic and unforeseen decisions about their l ...more
Jan 24, 2016 Elaine rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 24, 2015 Yury rated it really liked it
Лучше чем Acceptable Losses, хуже чем Богач-Бедняк. Книга как бы о том, что людям делают добро, а они становятся несчастными. Очевидный вывод - что не в деньгах счастье, но это тянуло бы на две звезды от силы. А на самом деле это о том, что несчастными делает людей свобода выбора (или свобода вообще?), если они к ней не готовы. Пока герои боролись за существование в своей маленькой нише, они были вполне довольны. А как захотели странного, вся идиллия кончилась.
Dana Brown
Nov 28, 2014 Dana Brown rated it really liked it
Wonderful storytelling. Thought provoking. Presents endless scenarios of "what would I do in that situation?" I began to worry that I wouldn't be satisfied with the ending and I didn't want to be disappointed....but the conclusion was as smooth as his entire story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Gregg Cebrzynski
Sep 23, 2013 Gregg Cebrzynski rated it it was amazing
This is Irwin Shaw's finest novel. It has none of the glitz and glamour for which Shaw was unjustly criticized in previous books, yet the story, as in his other novels, focuses on the moral choices we all face. Reading this book, my heart ached for the problems Allen Strand had to overcome. It's a cliche to say "I felt his pain," but it's true. And I kept rooting for his family, hoping that nothing bad would befall them. My own novels deal with families and their struggles, so perhaps I was more ...more
Shelley Gingrich
Jan 20, 2015 Shelley Gingrich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

What happens when a decidedly middle-class family gets a taste of how money and power can change lives? Is a fairy godfather a blessing? A curse? An eye-opener?
Linda Glass
Jan 02, 2015 Linda Glass rated it really liked it
Even though this book is a bit dated (1981) It would make a nice selection for a book discussion group. It is a serious book but not a difficult read and offers lots to talk about!
Feb 27, 2015 Olivia rated it did not like it
I didn't like this book at all. It was depressing. I kept reading, hoping for a happy ending, but in that I was disappointed.
Jeannie Bilodeau
Mar 01, 2015 Jeannie Bilodeau rated it liked it
A chance encounter w/a stranger that impacts a family and changes them in ways unimaginable before the encounter. Well written, compelling read.
Mar 28, 2016 Marni rated it really liked it
Wonderful writer. I can't tell you how many times I asked my husband to listen to a sentence or two.
Feb 10, 2014 Liz rated it did not like it
What a terrible book. Definitely don't recommend it. Couldn't wait to finish it!
Denise Freeman
Dec 07, 2014 Denise Freeman rated it really liked it
Quietly remarkable for its emotional insights.
Dec 07, 2007 Jon rated it really liked it
Another engrossing story from Shaw. I have to admit that he has become one of my favorite writers in the last year (before which I had never heard of him). I don't necessarily appreciate his sometimes gratuitous over-descriptions of certain aspects of New York (one thing that bothered me about Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities), but the stories he tells keep you turning pages and his style is readable, efficient, and, most importantly, interesting.
Aaron Segal
Sep 02, 2016 Aaron Segal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of his best. Engrossing from start to finish.
Feb 28, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Long book. Great story! Well worth the time!
Dec 22, 2014 Auntie rated it it was amazing
Petq Boikova
Самота , пари , самота , деца , самота , любов.
Всичко се върти около самотата и жаждата за обич.И да , не е жажда за любов , а за обич - онази чисто човешката , искрена и чиста.За идеалите и разбиването им на парченца.

Книгата не е нещо впечатляващо като литературна творба , но оставя след себе си няколко въпроса и ако всеки си отговори на тях - искрено и лично ще открие една по-истинска същност на живота си.
May 05, 2010 Gloria added it
I read this book a very very long time ago, I loved it's essence. It was speaking about different types of happiness. Some people may have great things, but have terrible things happen to them, and of course vice for versus. I loved the angles of the story, they fit very well with the authors grasp to explain that not everything is as it seems, and there is a lot to be said for that.
Mar 28, 2015 Artem rated it it was amazing
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 42 43 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Rains Came
  • The Story Bible, Old & New Testament, Volumes #1-2
  • The Physiology of Marriage
  • Bronze Mystique
  • First Ladies: The Saga of the Presidents' Wives and Their Power, 1789-1961
  • A Ballad for Georg Henig
  • The Twenty-seventh Wife
  • Murdering Mr. Monti
  • Lord Of The High Lonesome (North Dakota, Americana, # 34 )
  • Осъдени души
  • First Born
  • Heart of Ice (Nancy Drew: Files, #103)
  • Two People
  • True Philippine Ghost Stories Book 2 (True Philippine Ghost Stories, #2)
  • The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories
  • Kidnapped (Great Illustrated Classics)
  • Pocket Dictionary of Signing, Revised and Expanded
  • Flunk Punk Rumble, Vol. 1
Shaw was born Irwin Gilbert Shamforoff in the South Bronx, New York City, to Russian Jewish immigrants. Shaw was a prolific American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and short-story author whose written works have sold more than 14 million copies. He is best known for his novels, The Young Lions (1948) and Rich Man Poor Man (1970).

His parents were Rose and Will. His younger brother, David Shaw
More about Irwin Shaw...

Share This Book

“Our imperfections are the bonds that hold us together. We might as well recognize them.” 2 likes
“A taste of luxury is part of the education of any intelligent human being. It teaches him how unnecessary it is.” 0 likes
More quotes…