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By George

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  480 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
In the illustrious history of the theatrical Fishers, there are two Georges. One is a peculiar but endearing 11-year-old, raised in the seedy world of `70s boarding houses and backstages, now packed off to school for the first time; the other, a garrulous ventriloquist's dummy who belonged to George's grandfather, a favorite traveling act of the British troops in World War ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 22nd 2007 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,193)
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 Δx Δp ≥ ½ ħ
Seperti inilah bagaimana seharusnya sebuah cerita ditulis. Sebuah contoh nyata dari keapikan berkisah dan keluwesan pengarang untuk merasakan pahit getirnya penderitaan.Cerita yang bersahaja jika diramu dengan kejeniusan pengarang dan kepiawaian bertutur kata, maka semuanya nyaris menjadi kisah yang sempurna.-- Mirip lagunya So7-- :D

Semula saya mengira bahwa buku ni adalah kisah misteri detektif (si penerbit mencantumkan kata 'genre misteri'). Yah, meski gak sepenuhnya salah juga sih, tp kayakny
Oct 20, 2008 Christopher rated it it was amazing
The best book I have read all year - in a year of great books.

Better than Hanif Kureshi and Something to Tell You. Better than Edwyn St Aubyn's Some Hope. I fell in love with this book - in fact, I fell in love with the characters in this book and genuinely did not want it to end.

Stace does not redefine English literature with this novel. It's subject matter, dealing with an eccentric family at the wrong end of English Show Business in the tacky and amateur period of mid-century Britain is not t
Jan 12, 2008 Karetchko marked it as to-read
I've started reading this book and have liked it so far, but something has been holding me back from putting it on the top of my reading list. I finally figured it out the other day: I bought this book at a great book-and-music event at Fearrington Village in NC, and now what I really want is for Wes (the author) to read the book to me. No, I don't want an audiobook version...I want Wes in my house, sitting next to me, reading it to me, maybe with the dummy there too.
Jason Pettus
(My full review of this book is much longer than GoodReads' word-count limitations. Find the entire essay at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [].)

Within long-form fiction, there is a particular thing that I happen to really love, something maybe a little difficult to explain but that I bet a lot of CCLaP's readers enjoy too; and that's when an author will pick a seemingly quirky topic, something that doesn't appear at first could be tied to a number of different
Dec 05, 2008 Jeanne rated it it was amazing
This is the story of two boys named George.

The first George is an eleven-year-old schoolboy named George Fisher. He is the son of actress Frankie Fisher, grandson of ventriloquist Joe Fisher, and great-grandson of Echo Endor, ventriloquiste extraordinaire.

The second George is also named George Fisher. He is Joe Fisher's dummy. He is also a schoolboy, as that is the style of the dummies produced during that time period.

Together, the Georges will tell the story of the Fisher family. We will lear
Oct 18, 2009 Cari rated it it was amazing
by George was for me a wonderful reminder of what great fiction is all about. This story of two Georges - one a real boy coming of age in 1970s England and one a ventriloquist's "boy" or dummy entertaining the troops in WWII - is beautifully told, with the two main voices clear, distinct from one another as they relate their lives - often telling the same stories from different perspectives. Stace links the two stories from the beginning with loose ties that gradually become sturdier, tightening ...more
Nov 07, 2008 Amy rated it it was ok
Recommended to Amy by: book club selection
Shelves: milkskins
I found this book very hard to get into. It didn't pull me in the way books normally go, and I would find myself going days at a time without reading a page (which is unusual for me). However I was determined to finish it and with about 100 pages to go the story seemed to pick up for me. I really enjoyed the last portion of the book and the ending held a twist that I really enjoyed.
Mary Lawrence
Jun 12, 2016 Mary Lawrence rated it it was amazing
Finally got around to reading this and I am not disappointed. Wesley Stace continues to be a favorite writer of mine. His prose flows, his humor shines. In this story told 'by' George, in alternating points of view, we follow an 11 year old boy and his eccentric matriarchal family as he grows up in a family of entertainers and is sent to Upside Boarding School. Here he learns to survive, but never really fits in until he befriends a groundskeeper who takes an interest in him. So begins his inter ...more
Chris Desmottes
May 13, 2009 Chris Desmottes rated it it was ok
I really tried hard to stick with this one. I loved the premise, a story told from a ventriloquist dummy from the 20's and a young boy from the 70's. The dummy belonged to the boy's grandfather and he finds a book describing his grandfather's life. But it got really tedious and I couldn't get through it.
Jun 26, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very enjoyable book. While it deals with some common themes, it is the unusual conception of the story that makes it rather delightfully unique. I particularly liked the writing, which is quietly elegant and simply a joy to read. Wesley Stace has a special voice. And let's be truthful here: How can you not enjoy a book that has a ventriloquist's dummy as one of the central characters? I am pleased that I took a chance on this book and it turned out a winner. (Here's a tip: You can neve ...more
Mar 13, 2010 Linda rated it liked it
Here we have a multi-generation story about a family of ventriloquists, with two narrators. George is a young boy whose mother, grandfather and great-grandmother have all had their fame and success in music halls in England, beginning in the early 1 900’s. Alternating chapters are told by another George, the dummy who tells the back story of his life with the real George’s grandfather. George the boy does not know who his father was, and his grandfather apparently died during World War I. Howeve ...more
Apr 01, 2011 Daryl rated it it was amazing
This delightful novel tells two intertwined stories, one set in the 1940s about a ventriloquist and his dummy named George (told in first person from the dummy's point-of-view, intriguing in itself); the second story, set in the 1970s, tells the story of the ventriloquist's grandson, named George (after the dummy) and his quest as a schoolboy to become a ventriloquist and performer in his own rite. I really liked how Wes played with the whole concept of point of view and storytelling throughout ...more
Jun 09, 2010 Renee rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 20, 2008 Cheryl rated it liked it
What do you do when you discover that there’s someone else out there with the same name as you? In this charming story about two Georges, you will find out. First there is George, a ventriloquist dummy and than there is George an eleven-year old boy. This story is really told and narrated by George, the puppet as told by his memoirs that he experienced as a dummy and all the travels and people he meets along the way.

I thought it was refreshing as well as unique to see everything through a ventr
Michael Martin
Nov 08, 2013 Michael Martin rated it it was amazing
By George is a wonderful, Dickensian novel which tells two tales that are brought together by the book's conclusion. The first follows the British vaudeville family the Fishers, and centers primarily on a somewhat rebellious and innovative ventriloquist named Joe Fisher, and his dummy George, as they take their acts to the front lines of WWII. The second story follows Joe's grandson George Fisher and his coming of age in various British boarding schools, slowly learning the truth about the color ...more
Sep 25, 2014 Gwyn rated it really liked it
An intriguing book, though I believe you should have an interest in ventriloquism or at least vaudeville and pantomimes because much of it is about performing and what it's like backstage and in a theatrical family. It's very much about a boy (well, a boy and a young man) who don't fit in. It goes back and forth between their two stories, which are different generations of the same family. Of course, secrets abound and it's interesting to see things develop over each timeline, knowing they cross ...more
Jim Dunn
Jan 24, 2015 Jim Dunn rated it it was amazing
Bravo! By George grabbed me by the brain and didn't let go until its conclusion. I was not counting on this title to be as good as it was, surpassing my expectations. It's fascinating the way Wesley Stace oscillates between two story lines, which on the surface seem destined to be totally unrelated. George, the boy dummy and Geroge the boy tell the story of their colorful lives and how their family directed, controlled, and cajoled them into the beings they became. I really had no idea how the s ...more
May 23, 2013 J.Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
I love the way this was written. Wesley Stace did a fantastic job intertwining the lives of George the "boy" and George the schoolboy. What a great story.
I just finished it this morning, so it's all fresh in my head and I wouldn't know what to say I liked more. The style or the story, perhaps both equally? I loved the movement of the characters, how he made it seem like life, you become attached to someone and then you drift away. All in a narrative that never bored me for a moment. While there
Karon Cook
Jan 13, 2012 Karon Cook rated it really liked it
Had I not found this book on a NPR's list of best books 2012, I would not have chosen it based on its subject matter. It is about a family of entertainers who have careers in vaudeville, ventriloquism and "voice-throwing". All of these acts require managment of what people pay attention to while creating an illusion. Form follows subject matter in this novel. It is not always clear if you are seeing what you think you are seeing. This is sometimes a lot of fun and sometimes just confusing. I got ...more
Beth Cavanaugh
May 23, 2012 Beth Cavanaugh rated it liked it
While I didn't enjoy this book as much as I liked Stace's debut novel, Misfortune, this one was good too. The ventriloquist dummy as narrator was an interesting technique, but...a little weird. And at times confusing, since the character can't be expected to know as much as the reader would like about some things. The other George, the teenaged narrator, was a much more compelling storyteller in my opinion, and I enjoyed his perspective on being a part of a fairly mixed-up theatrical family. The ...more
Oct 24, 2015 Storjia rated it liked it
Deserves more than a three and at times a four but not often enough. I had to draw the family tree to follow and understand the generations.
Such a cool idea for a book. I couldn't resist this read.
I would recommend this book but it definitely is not for just anyone.
I would love to see the characters come to life in a movie.
Jan 21, 2016 Sharon rated it really liked it
A really good, inventive story, told in part by a ventriloquist's dummy! The twists and turns of the plot are slightly confusing because of the different generations of the family and their secrets, but I couldn't put it down.
Mar 14, 2014 Mia rated it really liked it
This was such an amazing book, I'm sad that so few people have heard of it or of Wesley Stace the writer. I had no idea, until I went to see him at a storytelling show, that Wesley Stace is John Wesley Harding the musician. I fell a little bit in love with him that night, this attractive, intelligent, funny man with a lovely accent who is also a talented singer/songwriter and wrote a book that I loved. I need to read his other books. His new one just came out and you can bet I'll be going to at ...more
Jan 21, 2016 Katewood16 rated it really liked it
Credible and interesting background on theater and ventriloquism, a charming array of dysfunctional characters. The plot became forced at times and the ending contains improbable twists and turns that aren't earned. Nevertheless, a fun read.
Feb 09, 2012 Agatha rated it it was amazing
Wow. There are good writers, and then there are storytellers, and this author is a storyteller. And a very good one. And overall, this is an equally excellent book: very well-crafted and just really well-written. I honestly don’t even know where he came up with the creativity to come up with this very unique story! But I was happily lost in it for the past 2-3 days. It had a lot of elements I really enjoy: British-ness, history, boarding school, theater, family relationships, coming-of-age, etc. ...more
Erin Sterling
Alternating between two perspectives with the same name: that of a ventriloquist's dummy in the 1940s and that of a lonely teenager in the 1970s whose family is in the entertaining business. Started off slowly and a bit bizarrely, but I got into it more as the stories start to intertwine and mysteries get unraveled. Maybe it's because I read this rather dense book in a day, but I didn't feel like the mysteries that got unraveled were as obvious as they seemed like they should have been. Melancho ...more
Mar 29, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes to read about dysfunctional but funny families
Recommended to Jennifer by: Powell's Daily Dose & Julie
I enjoyed this novel about two Georges--one a young boy sent off to boarding school for the first time and the other a ventriloquist's dummy. The novel alternates between these two narrators--we hear how George, the dummy, came to be and came to be involved with Joe Fisher (George the boy's grandfather)--and we hear about the other's George's disasterous experiences at the Upside School for Boys. The connections between these two Georges becomes more complex and more interesting as the novel con ...more
Mar 28, 2014 Nadine rated it really liked it
My second book by Wesley Stace. His inventive, original plots and good old fashioned storytelling skills are a great combo. His main character (the human George) ages from 11 to 17 years, and I was amazed at how Stace was able to convey his gradual maturing, year by year, just through the character's thoughts and actions. The only weak point for me was that the boarding school section dragged a bit. (A little bit of being miserable at boarding school goes a long way.) This is one of those books ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 15, 2007 Julie rated it really liked it
Wesley Stace (a.k.a. John Wesley Harding) is a very good storyteller. He tells his story with two voices: George, a ventriloquist’s boy in the 1930s and 40s, and George, his namesake who has grown up in a family of showbiz royalty that is now on the wane. The descriptions of their vaudeville careers emphasize the sweat behind the glamorous façade; this dichotomy turns out to be a theme for George (the real boy), since many things are not what they first seem.
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Wesley Stace also records music under the nom de plume of John Wesley Harding.
More about Wesley Stace...

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“They're not doing much for themselves. I'm sure they'd rather slip away, relax their fingers and float, but they can't. They're not allowed. Effort is so painful; our knuckles are white, yet we keep clinging. The alternative is suicide- and we are too fearful for that.” 4 likes
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