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Little Chapel on the River
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Little Chapel on the River

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  770 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews

Forced from her downtown Manhattan apartment by the terrorist attack of September 11, journalist Wendy Bounds was delivered to Guinan's doorstep — a legendary Irish drinking hole and country store nestled along the banks of the Hudson River in the small town of Garrison, New York — by a friend.

Captivated by the bar's charismatic but ailing owner and his charming, motley

...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kelly Sedinger
Feb 08, 2015 Kelly Sedinger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I read this book some years ago, and I've never been able to forget it. Gwendolyn Bounds is a journalist from New York City who relocates to the little Hudson River Valley town of Garrison, where she becomes a regular at this tiny little bar and convenience store right on the commuter train tracks. This town is almost directly across the river from West Point. Here she gets to know the bar's owners and the quirky cast of regulars that exists at any such little bar. That's really all there is to ...more
Gabe
Jun 02, 2007 Gabe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story about a small town on the Hudson River and discovering what's most important in life - people, their stories, and your relationships with them.
Jan C
Feb 02, 2017 Jan C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ny, 2017
I let this book drag out. It is one of those books that can be picked up for short reading spells and is found to be enjoyable.

After the attack on the Twin Towers, the author, among many others, had to find somewhere to live and telework while the City became rehabbed. She and her partner found the town of Garrison, NY, noted for being on the Hudson River and near West Point Military Academy in Highland. And she finds a friendly store/pub near the train station, Guinan's run by several generati
...more
Josh
Dec 21, 2016 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I salute what Gwendolyn Bounds has done here. "I found a truly great pub" seems like a topic to write about at the length of a magazine article. A couple chapters in I wondered how this became a whole book. How much could she possibly say about this place? But then I returned to the book again and again, the way she returned to Guinan’s. By the end, Guinan’s became a known place in the map of my imagination. Thanks, Bounds, for sharing it with me. This book was given to me by a friend who has hi ...more
Jessica Eileen
Dec 28, 2012 Jessica Eileen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book set in my town that has opened up worlds for me. Guinans was a great focal point of Garrison and being able to read all of their stories makes me so happy and helps me connect with something so iconic about the landing. Truly a well written and moving book which will forever be one of my favorites.
Liz
Nov 24, 2007 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked reading about the story of Guinan's pub/store and the Guinan family. I was less interested in the story of the author and I didn't particularly care for her writing style. Overall, it is an interesting history of an Irish immigrant family in NY and the public house that they run.
Anthony
Jun 20, 2015 Anthony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My own personal association with Guinan's was relatively short-lived: 1985 to 1989, the years I was between high school and college and spending a lot of time doing local community theater, including a stint at Hand-to-Mouth Players in the old train depot in Garrison. During and after rehearsals we'd wander over to the Guinan store for soda and snacks (those of us still legally under-age to drink in NYS at that time), and I'm pretty sure we had at least one post-performance gathering in the Pub, ...more
Julie
Dec 13, 2011 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. A lot. Really it is a window into a magical world known as Guinan's Pub, formally in Garrison, NY, and the owner, Jim Guinan. This book delves into the history and lives of the Guinan clan and the family business, namely a pub, and store, spanning several decades. Bounds describes the daily ongoings in this community pub along with the colorful cast of characters who frequent it. A charming and poignant tale. Two of my favorite parts are as follows:
1. Bounds begins helping in
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Jim
There are special places that people create in small hamlets or in neighborhoods . Guinan's was one of those places . My wife spent a weekend in Garrison Landing visiting a couple who lived a block away. The husband appears in this book.

This remembrance reminds me of this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3KEh...

and for my Finnish Friends

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9wE6...



Amanda
Jun 07, 2008 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-clubs
I'm almost done with this book & am just loving it. It is easy to read entertaining & heart warming. I recommend it to everyone.
Kathleen
Old Book Club Read - really enjoyed it.
Buff
Sep 20, 2016 Buff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
It was okay. Nice human interests stories. It wasn't as good as I was hoping.
John
Apr 13, 2012 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little Chapel on the River is a community study of even tempo and simple observation. I appreciated the author's reserve in description of both place and people.

Over time she lets their actions and words paint the picture of a group of people whose intersection is not in their own backgrounds or personalites, but in their desire, no, their longing for a place to step out of life for a bit to contemplate and discuss what passes by on river and road.

I had some difficulty in rating the book, though
...more
Elizabeth Robey
I read this little book immediately after Jonathan Franzen's 600 page "Freedom" and it took me a little while to adjust to the simplicity of its narrative and the writing. But after several chapters, I settled into with it and ultimately enjoyed this book that explores values, families, loyalty, friendship, and what is important in life.

The story takes place shortly after 9/11, where the author, a Wall Street Journal reporter, and her partner leave Manhattan to take refuge in a little town on t
...more
Kate
Dec 06, 2009 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Forced from her downtown Manhattan apartment by the terrorist attack of September 11, journalist Wendy Bounds was delivered to Guinan's doorstep -- a legendary Irish drinking hole and country store nestled along the banks of the Hudson River in the small town of Garrison, New York -- by a friend.

"Captivated by the bar's charismatic but ailing owner and his charming, motley clientele, Bounds uprooted herself permanently and moved to tiny Garrison, the picturesque river town they all call home..
...more
Beth
Feb 07, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a journalist who works for the Wall Street Journal. She and her partner lived practically across the street from the World Trade Center on 9/11. In the days and weeks following the attack, she and her roommate stayed with various friends while their apartment was unhabitable. They ended up near the little town of Garrison, NY on the Hudson River, about 50 miles from NYC. Before catching a train to the city one day, they stopped in a small local tavern there and the author, Wen ...more
Christie
Dec 12, 2012 Christie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
A heartwarming account revolving around the town of Garrison, New York and a pub that instantly becomes such an important part of the lives of those who walk in and hear the stories told by the owner, Jim Guinan. The pub is affectionately referred to as "The little chapel on the river" and shortly after the events of 9/11, the author and her girlfriend stop by this pub and realize that this gathering place and the small town of Garrison provide the calm and sense of normalcy that was taken from ...more
Elise
Jul 27, 2010 Elise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An appropriate follow-up to "The Great Good Place," and a fun book to read aloud with Nick. Reading "The Great Good Place" made me yearn for a good community establishment, where everybody knows and takes care of each other, where everybody knows he or she is welcome after either a good or bad day. Guinan's Pub in Garrison, New York, aka the little chapel on the river, is that great good place. I loved meeting the cast of chapel characters (especially when Nick did the Irish accent) and getting ...more
Michelle
May 11, 2010 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The hamlet slipping into winter is a gentle but palpable occurance. As final fair warning, the leaves begin to glow until it looks as if someone has lit a warm lamp across the entire valley...Wood is stockpiled, chimneys swept, snowplow contracts signed.
Meantime, the summer renters close up shop...Those who stay can watch as the landscape strips down, unloading her buxom summer weight until she is naked, angular, severely beautiful.
This is home on the eve of our arrival."

Reading the book jacke
...more
Tess
As a sucker for memoirs and anything Irish-related, I had to buy the book as soon as I saw it. It took me a few weeks to get around to actually reading it, but I suppose the best way to describe it is a "homey" book. It meanders in a style that I feel mimics the way old men tell stories--backwards, forwards, with a sharp memory for personal details--certainly not everyone's cup of tea, as the details can become extraneous at times and distract from the feeling Bounds tries to relate. I thoroughl ...more
Caroline
May 11, 2009 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For everyone who ever had a bar to call home, or wanted one. This is a book about the regulars, the locals. The author is a 9/11 refugee from NYC, finding a new home and a new perspective on life in a small town - specifically, in a family establishment filled with interesting characters. I wouldn't call it a 9/11 survivor memoir, but I do think the experience clearly flavors Ms. Bounds' early interactions with the pub life. She eventually becomes a convert to life in "the Chapel" and respectful ...more
Jennifer
A sweet, enjoyable read about the author's unplanned move and unexpected falling in love with a small pub and its clientele in the small town of Garrison, NY, set along the Hudson River. After being displaced from her New York City apartment due to the terrorist attacks on 9-11, Gwendolyn "Wendy" Bounds begins a new chapter in her life after spontaneously stepping into Guinan's, an old Irish pub and country store, for "just one beer". As she gets to know the pub's regulars, she becomes one herse ...more
Selena
Sep 05, 2008 Selena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Catie, Irish people, small town folk
A heart-warming story about a little pub and country store just north of NYC that defeated all odds. And the people who ran it and became part of it also defeated most odds. Garrison, NY seems like a place I'd love to live in and perhaps work out of, from the author's fabulous description of it. The only negative thing I can say about this book is that the author seemed to want to become these people a little too much. She basically invited herself into the lives of the Guinans and gave up her p ...more
Elizabeth
Jul 26, 2009 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book really deserves 3 1/2 stars...

This true story begins on the morning of September 11, 2001, in an apartment next door to the World Trade Center. The author, Wendy Bounds, is preparing to go to work at the Wall Street Journal when the towers are hit and life turns upside down. After a couple months as a nomad, she and her roommate end up living with friends an hour outside the city in the small hamlet of Garrison, across the Hudson river from West Point. Wendy becomes more intrigued and
...more
jessica
Jul 04, 2008 jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: short story readers, memoir lovers
Recommended to jessica by: book club
I just read this with my book club last month and quite liked it. The style was engaging and read quickly, and the characters were handled very lovingly.
I hadn't read or viewed anything about September 11th since, and her treatment of the events were totally gentle and manageable (to me, I am a wuss I'll admit.)
My only criticism of the book was it's construction. As a series of vignettes, to me it detracted from the idea of this being a life-changing experience for the author. This is her first
...more
Cindy
May 09, 2009 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-read
Really enjoyed this book about a woman after 9-11 who by chance stumbled into a little bar on the Hudson river across from West Point Academy called Guinan's. It was a general store/bar ran by an ailing Jim Guinan with help from his children. The author wound up moving to the little town, Garrison NY. She was so captivated by the owner, his family and the people. She shared stories from the clientele, reverting back to short smidgens about her own childhood with her grandfather & family. It ...more
Debbie
Mar 10, 2016 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Displaced by the 2011 attack on the World Trade Center, changed the lives of Wendy and her girlfriend Kathryn more than they ever thought possible. They find themselves in a little town named Garrison, just across the river from West Point. Wendy soon makes friends in Garrison, and in particular at a pub owned by the Guinan family. She finds more than friendship and family there, she also starts to find herself and what's been missing from her life.

The book details the story of the Guinan family
...more
Mike
Mar 02, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nonfiction. A writer and her partner who lived and worked near the Trade Center were displaced from home and work on 9/11. The writer sought refuge in Garrison, NY (right across from West Point) while office and home were repaired or relocated. She stumbles on an old-time country store/Irish Pub at the river landing of this wonderful small town and becomes part of this "Community," held together by "human duct tape." Here descriptions of the "characters" that run and frequent the place are utter ...more
Liz Muehl
Mar 15, 2015 Liz Muehl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was interested in this book since I was familiar with the area and having been to many Irish Pubs both in Ireland and the U.S. I wanted to share these people's world. I was not dissapointed. I find the world inside an Irish Pub to be unique and magical. Each one of them has their regulars and it own little family. Also, this book was reassuring to me about the strength and resilience of New Yorkers in their efforts to find themselves again in a post 9/11 world. It was a comforting read for me ...more
Caroline
Jan 21, 2008 Caroline rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caroline by: Lynnette
Shelves: non-fiction
It's always fun to read about places you've visited, and while I've never had the good fortune to step inside Guinan's, part grocery, part pub, I've been to the Garrison train station, just north of New York City, which is steps away from Guinan's.

Wendy Bounds is forced to leave Manhattan after the 911 terrorist attacks leave her apartment uninhabitable. She had her partner land, at first temporarily and then permanently, in Garrison and discover Guinan's - the "Little Chapel on the River". This
...more
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