Title: The Swan Gondola
Author: Timothy Schaffert
Publisher: Riverhead, 2014
Summary/Review: When I decided to read this book, I thought the subject was the 1898 Worlds Fair in Omaha Nebraska. I also thought it was going to be similar to “The Devil in the White City”, a fantastic book about the Chicago World’s Fair. It was not at all like the “Devil in the White City” in that the Fair is only a back drop, the story is purely fictional, and if examined more closely, it could be a take-off of “The Wizard of Oz.” Quirky would be a good word to describe it.
FYI: I wondered if there was even a Omaha World’s Fair. This is a description that I found:
There were 11 large, white buildings and dozens of smaller ones surrounding a giant lagoon on which lovers could take gondola rides. There was a miniature railroad, an exhibit of “horseless carriages” — a forerunner to the automobile — exotic dancers from the Middle East, a street scene from Cairo, strange fortune tellers roaming the midway, ostriches pulling carriages, food and clothing from around the world and, last but not least, an exhibit that showcased babies sleeping in incubators.
The “Swan Gondola” is the love story of Ferret, a ventriloquist, and Cecil, a beautiful actress, who meet at the Omaha World’s Fair and fall in love. There is much magic, crazy science, and undying love to make a good love story. People who liked “Night Circus” may like this book.
As an aside, the book both begins and ends with the importance of a librarian’s influence over Ferret’s life. I enjoyed the symmetrical bookends.
Who would like this book? Someone who’s looking for something a little different.
If you like this, try this: “Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern
Recommended by: Sue Z, Reference Librarian
If this looks like a book you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold!