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

By George

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  507 Ratings  ·  97 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)
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 By George, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about By George

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
 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 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
Dec 01, 2007 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
Jan 18, 2008 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 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
Chris Desmottes
May 08, 2009 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.
Sep 20, 2008 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.
May 31, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathleen Fowler
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By George is a multi-generational chronicle of a family in a very unusual line of work. It is focused primarily on the lives of two Georges: one a ventriloquist’s dummy created in the 1930s, the other a real boy, the son of a ventriloquist, born in 1962. This family saga is likely to appeal to anyone who enjoyed Kate Atkinson’s Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Like that book, it flits about in time, alternately following the adventures of each of the Georges until they gradually converge in the ...more
Apr 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
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
Mar 19, 2011 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
Sep 10, 2008 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
Oct 15, 2013 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
Apr 10, 2012 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
Mary Lawrence
Jun 12, 2016 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
Jim Dunn
Sep 25, 2014 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
Karon Cook
Jan 13, 2012 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 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
Sep 05, 2010 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
Feb 08, 2012 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
May 01, 2011 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
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
Oct 22, 2007 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
Jun 26, 2015 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 04, 2014 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
Sep 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book with the two Georges as the narrators and the strong female family structure that dominates the story line. Stace develops the many characters such that all have important roles, and are easy to get to know. How we work with our flaws is a strong theme throughout the book as well as how family shapes our lives. A biggie is the concept of keeping secrets even if well intentioned. Amazing what a dummy can teach.
Oct 22, 2007 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.
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
On the surface there is no reason I would like this book since part of the story is told through a ventriloquist dummy. Recommended by NPR's Nancy Pearl as a book with personality, I have to agree that I enjoyed spending time with these characters. Told in two voices and in two time periods, the book demands some attention from the reader. While the resolution of the plot is not entirely satifactory, the journey shared with the main character is.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Blind Sight
  • The New York Stories: Three Volumes in One Collection
  • The Summer of the Bear
  • Under the Harrow
  • Attic Clowns
  • Code for Failure
  • Lies, First Person
  • American Gangbang: A Love Story
  • Funereal
  • American Neolithic
  • Condominium
  • All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well
  • The Nervous System (Dewey Decimal #2)
  • Chance in Hell
  • The Misadventures of Sulliver Pong
  • I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams
  • Famous Drownings in Literary History: Essays on 21st-Century Jewishness
  • Chris Ware
Wesley Stace also records music under the nom de plume of John Wesley Harding.
More about Wesley Stace

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Take Me with You
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Her Sister's Shoes (Sweeney Sisters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Rock Harbor Collection: Without a Trace, Beyond a Doubt, Into the Deep, Cry in the Night, and Silent Night (Rock Harbor #1-5)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Thousand Tomorrows (Cody Gunner, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Shoeless Joe
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Death in Venice
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Blonde
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ever After (Lost Love, #2)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Rescue
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Lords of Discipline
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Sheltering Sky
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Gena/Finn
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Charles Martin Collection: When Crickets Cry, Chasing Fireflies, and Wrapped in Rain
    $14.99 $3.99
  • Remember Tuesday Morning (9/11, #3)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Scavenger's Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Under the Udala Trees
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Streets Have No King
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Passion
    $11.00 $1.99
  • The Language of Hoofbeats
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Not Perfect: A Novel
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Seekers (Kent Family Chronicles, #3)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Don Quixote
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Essex Serpent
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Storycatcher
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Domestic Violets
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Devil Wears Prada
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Half a Heart
    $4.99 $2.49
  • The Keeper of Secrets: A Novel
    $9.24 $1.99
  • A Garden of Earthly Delights (Wonderland Quartet, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Golden Notebook
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Life of Christ
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Good Mother
    $5.74 $1.99
  • The Palest Ink (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters Prequel)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Go: A Coming of Age Novel
    $4.99 $1.99
  • As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Child in Time
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Lowcountry Stranger (Sweeney Sisters Series Book 2)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Man in 3B
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Save Me
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Better Nate Than Ever (Better Nate Than Ever #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Time Bomb
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Heat and Light: A Novel
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Reunion
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Stay Up With Me
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Loser
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Map and the Territory
    $8.99 $2.99
  • You Know Me Well
    $7.09 $2.99
  • Father's Day
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Skeletons at the Feast
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Even Now (Lost Love, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Sackett's Land: The Sacketts (Sacketts, #1)
    $5.99 $2.99
  • This Bright Beauty
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Intervention (An Intervention Novel)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Star Sand
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Secrets of Nanreath Hall
    $11.74 $1.99
  • The Sugar Queen
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Birth House
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Open City
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Out of Sorts
    $5.99 $0.99
  • The Hearts of Men: A Novel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Revolutionary Road
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Blessings
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Choke
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Bachelor Girl
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Wednesday Sisters
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Allie and Bea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • After the War Is Over: A Novel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Shanghai Girls (Shanghai Girls #1)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What Belongs to You
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The History of Bees: A Novel
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Love Goddess' Cooking School
    $10.99 $2.99
  • All the Summer Girls
    $8.74 $1.99
  • The Girl From the Train
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bitter Winds (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This
    $14.99 $1.99
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“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
More quotes…