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The Feud

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  282 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Berger chronicles small-town America of the 1930s in his narrative of the feud between the Beelers of Hornbeck and the Bullards of Milville. A major film based on "The Feud" is to be released in the autumn of 1989.
Paperback, 266 pages
Published September 1st 1989 by Little Brown & Co (P) (first published January 1st 1983)
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Jon Recluse
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
A delightfully funny novel concerning feuding families, re: the Hatfields and the McCoys, that amply displays just how silly these things can be. Although set in the 1930s, the comedy is timeless, as the motives and machinations behind these neighborhood brouhahas never really change.

Highly recommended.
M. Sarki
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it
A rough and tumble foray into an earlier time when violence and bigotry reigned supreme. Unsettling in its easy to read narrative. Disconcerting in its portrayal of real America.
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Feud by Thomas Berger
Exhilarating masterpiece

This book appears to be so simple and yet it is a spellbinding, fabulous work.
In fact, I loved it so much that somewhere at 60% I stopped and have placed it in the waiting section of my to-read list.
When I enjoy a book extremely, I tend to like to prolong the pleasure, which ultimately means that I simply stop reading it.
I have interrupted the encounter with Paradise Lost, Adventures in the Screen Trade, No Orchids of Miss Blandish and a few more.
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mayberry as told by Erskin Caldwell. This book is one of the best I've read in quite a while. The characters are brilliant, the writing is brilliant, the pacing, the plot--it's all brilliant. Berger is one of my favorites, and this THIS is the reason why.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've been mixing in more Pulitzer Prize winners/nominees in my reading queue, and this one, a nominee in 1984 (Ironweed won), piqued my interest because of its almost complete obscurity (there isn't even Wiki page for it). To my surprise it was very entertaining, a raucous comedy of errors filled with lust, vengeance, violence, and complete stupidity with everyone involved. Falls a bit short of 5 stars because the feud itself sort of just limps out instead of climaxing, but I suppose such is the ...more
Bill FromPA
Apr 02, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 1980s, comic-novels
Previous: Reinhart's Women
Next: Nowhere
Dec 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Amusing character sketch with an abrupt ending.
Oct 04, 2016 rated it liked it
A 3.5 star rating. A funny book about two families in a small American town in the late 1930s. There are a number of odd ball characters. Tony, a 16 year old lad who is just discovering girls, punches a police officer, decides to become a Canadian mountie by running away but then decides to get a job in the town. His sister Bernice comes home from the city to have a week or so at home and loves men. Doesn't help out at home and runs up the family grocery charge account. The hardware store burns ...more
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Guardian this book was recently championed as a forgotten classic. On the strength of this review (and Tom Cox gives a fair assessment of the novel) I hunted out this hard to find book, and was not disappointed.

Although initially I was, a little. The prose is a little lacklustre. On the strength of this one book, I wouldn't recommend Berger for his writing style. His narrative, however, especially as you are caught up in its wheels after about a third of the way, is excellent. All the com
Nov 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Everyday people acting like total imbeciles have long been a mainstay of comic writing. The ploy fell a bit flat for me in this election year when bad behavior is the norm. Men with guns who abuse power, terrorize people, and assault women were never funny to me, and I don’t want to read about racism unless it’s used purely for historical context. Not funny. That said, this often slapstick novel did make me laugh.

Many of the main characters were endearing, so I was pulling for things to work out
Tommy Baker
I was on board with this mildly dark satirical comedy for the first half or so. Then I think Thomas Berger makes a mistake of misjudging the interest the reader might have in such a prick of a character like Reverton Kirby, even if meant in a comically ironic way. It's really unpleasant rattling around in his head for a couple of chapters. When reading this I started to think longingly about the next book to start. A more successful miserable character is his teenage cousin Junior, but even with ...more
Christopher Sutch
Jul 18, 2015 rated it liked it
This 1983 novel won Berger the Pulitzer, though I'm not sure why. It's a fine novel: interesting characters, competently written. But that's also the problem with it: there is nothing very original about it, nothing that gives Berger's best works a special flavor or make them worthy of interest. Partly, for me, this comes from my lack of interest in the setting (1930s Ohio town life, much like his earlier novel _Sneaky People_). Also, though, there is little social satire or commentary in this w ...more
Dec 30, 2016 rated it liked it
*3.5/5 stars
The American classic of the Beelers and Hornbecks in small town America. A feud erupts between the families when Mr. Beeler goes over to Mr. Hornbeck's hardware store for some supplies. A series of comical misplaced blame leads to a slapstick comedy of misunderstandings. Mr. Berger also highlights the hypocrisy of the "wholesome" small town, as each character rationalizes their poor decision making. A reminder that vices weren't invented anytime recently.
Benjamin Kahn
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, but it's hard for me to nail down why I liked it so much. It was a simple story, the characters all hovered on the edge of parody but didn't quite go over it. I was intrigued to see each twist and turn with all the characters and how their lives intersected. Just an fun, enjoyable read. You care about the characters and want to see how everything works out for them.
Thing Two
Jul 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
LOL funny! This Pulitzer nominated book of fiction starts off with a bang and keeps on going. Published in 1983, I've got to wonder if the author spent a lot of time watching The Andy Griffith Show. This is Mayberry on drugs - with the Hatfields and McCoys added just for fun. I will definitely look for more by Thomas Berger. Well done!
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Has beautifully ugly dialect and dialogue. Period setting perhaps serves the same purpose as Coen Brothers' 'Big Lebowski' or Haneke's 'White Ribbon' - it's set in the past as commentary on something, not because the story dictates it be set in the past in any specific way.
Hannah Baker
This was very funny! Unfortunately it started to get pretty repetitive halfway through, and I could see where it was going. So I gave up and just read the ending. But, I enjoyed it and would recommend it!
Peter Weissman
Jun 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
I like Thomas Berger, a lot. He's a humorist, and a satirist, and a good one. It was my good fortune to be assigned this book to copyedit, and I can unequivocally say it was the best book I ever edited. But I do like some of his other books better.
Dec 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008
It's another effortless comedy in Berger's 30s mid-western dope-dialogue oeuvre. The book reads like a companion to Sneaky People and, as in that one, there's the easy assured voice that'll gladly take in the curious but doesn't abash the casual passerby.
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was pretty good. Flowed nicely and was an interesting take on the whole Hatfield and McCoy's feud. Worth a try.
Peter Delorenzo
Jul 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Berger creates unique, quirky characters that are funny.
Pete Camp
Apr 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
Poorly written , read like a children's story. Not even worth one star actually
Kevin Ingraham
rated it really liked it
Jun 23, 2009
rated it it was amazing
Jan 25, 2008
Do Linh
rated it really liked it
Nov 28, 2017
rated it really liked it
Aug 17, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Sep 05, 2011
rated it really liked it
Mar 14, 2009
rated it liked it
Jan 24, 2018
Isaac Daniels
rated it really liked it
Jan 08, 2014
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Thomas Louis Berger is an American novelist. Probably best known for his picaresque novel Little Big Man and the subsequent film by Arthur Penn, Berger has explored and manipulated many genres of fiction throughout his career, including the crime novel, the hard-boiled detective story, science fiction, the utopian novel, plus re-workings of classical mythology, Arthurian legend, and the survival a ...more
More about Thomas Berger

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