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

Strange Nervous Laughter

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  26 reviews
You’ll not find six more remarkable characters: a cashier-turnedmotivational speaker, an undertaker with a toenail fetish, a girl wrapped in dreams, a man who communicates with whales, a garbage man with a peculiar sense of smell, and a Guinness Book of World Records representative. When a random holdup at a local grocery brings them together, their once separate lives
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 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 Strange Nervous Laughter, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Strange Nervous Laughter

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  116 ratings  ·  26 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of all time. Simply stunning. Bridget please write another book!
Jun 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I haven't read much magical realism, but from where I stand this author has quite an imagination! This book is like a fairy tale for cynical adults in their 20's and 30's. The omniscient narrator introduces each of the six main characters and explains what they're thinking and why they do the things they do. Each of them has their own special magical traits, like levitating, attracting broken objects, and talking to whales, and they all have normal human problems that are exaggerated in physical ...more
John Reola
Nov 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
this book gave me different perspectives, on how people are interlaced with different events and different choices they make in everyday life. somehow the characters had their own unique capabilities that separated them from other people but at the same time synchronize them with how they lived their own lives.

this book will show you that in ONE SINGLE MOMENT, you will be able to see how people connect and separate themselves with others.

this book will let you hate yet love the characters all at
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was, first off, weird. Really weird. Which I think is what she was going for. Second, if I hear about how hot that summer in Durban was one more time.... clearly that was important, the heat was almost a character, but the phrase was repeated a little too often. Beyond that, definitely an interesting read, and some great writing about human relationships, pain, and people doing things that they maybe don't want to do but can't seem to help themselves. It's worth reading for some if tha ...more
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
I finished Strange Nervous Laughter by Bridget McNulty last night. When I picked it up at the library, I thought it would be hit or miss and it did end up being one of those confusing books where I was too enthralled to stop reading but I couldn’t tell if I was really enjoying it. Now, having finished it, I think that I did like it. It’s not a style that usually appeals to me (too whimsical), but for some reason it worked. Part of that is probably because the characters are just so hopelessly lo ...more
Charlotte B
Feb 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
started this just last night. and for almost 2 hours couldn't put it down. sort of like a literary version of the movie Love Actually... just with strange characters. loving it so far... to the point where i find myself skimming just so i can find out what happens next.
okay, just finished it.
the feeling i got while reading the book was a nice lovey one.
but a little disappointed, because i had a hard time keeping track of who is who... and the ending kind of left me hanging.
Mary (BookHounds)
Apr 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
This was a very strange read, with elements of the supernatural involved. I thought the characters were quite interesting and not something that you typically see in Chick Lit. It did remind me of Christopher Moore in that the characters are all a little off in someway and as they find their way to love, they become "normal". I can't wait to read the next one by this author as I was a little sad when this one ended.
Nov 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book! I couldn't put it down and I'm so happy that it is a South African author. The characters lives intertwine in such a way that you start living their lives. My favourite character is Meryl who is bound in her corset of cynicism, but at some point this corset begins to unravel and she doesn't know how to fix the hole in her armour. I am dying to read this book again. It was light hearted and enlightening.
Oct 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
I randomly picked up this book at the library and really enjoyed it. The way the author describes and develops the characters and teaches lessons about love is rather clever and charming. I really appreciated her writing style.
Sep 02, 2009 added it
Shelves: half-read
This book was cute, I liked its light magic. And I know Bridget is a lovely person. There was just no way I was going to finish it, though. The omniscient narrator was too eager and perky for me.
Sep 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I just started reading it, but I love everything about it. The characters all have something special about them. I especially love Harry who has the ability to attract broken things...objects and people!
Jan 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: grownup-books
There are wonderful images in this grim little book of love. Lovers leaving trails of honeysuckle as they travel through South Africa. A man who attracts broken things. A woman who fixes broken men. The writing is wonderful-the stories sad.
Jun 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable. A little magical. Based in my hometown- Durban
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Picked this book up at random while at the library.It was bizarre but I turned out to love the characters and their quirky characteristics.
Jo Ann Fishburn
Oct 31, 2009 rated it liked it
Definitely a bit strange. Unusual characters with some magical traits amidst more common ones. It held my interest, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it.
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm surprised how much I enjoyed this book. It's a little bit of magical realism, South Africa style. Unusual portraits of early relationships and where they go wrong--or right.
Aug 02, 2009 marked it as to-read
Cosmo summer reads
Nov 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Feb 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
I really don't know what to say. This book was weird. There were parts that I found enduring, mostly found it to be just really strange. Also was really wordy with description.
Jun 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an enjoyable read...but I really didn't like the ending. The magical realism lead me to believe that the book would be a little more uplifting than it was.
May 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Interview with author Bridget McNulty coming soon at
Scarlett Pulsipher
Dec 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Love. It's weird, it's about love. It's my thing. Not many people liked it as much as I do, but it remains one of my favorites.
Jan 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Her writing style is very charming.
Cynthia Rielley
Mar 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
Didn't like it. It was well strange. I didn't care for the writer's style nor any of the characters.
Jenny Wikoff
Dec 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fascinating, unlike anything I've read before...slightly magical, self-helpy, humorous, feels much bigger than the confines of it's jacket.
Ron Irwin
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Hilarious novel by one of South Africa's top writers. Soon to be published in the USA...long may it reign!
rated it it was ok
Nov 13, 2010
Courtney Vogelzang
rated it it was amazing
Jul 17, 2012
rated it it was ok
Jul 21, 2009
Calamity Jam
rated it liked it
Dec 30, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Bridget McNulty is a passionate writer and editor inspired to help others write that book they've always wanted to.

With a Creative Writing degree from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and her first novel (Strange Nervous Laughter) published in both South Africa and the USA, Bridget has now launched an online novel-writing course: Now Novel.

Find out how to start - and fini