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Spanish Fly Paperback – Sep 9 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Canada (Sept. 9 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143055143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143055143
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.2 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #97,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By CJTM on Dec 19 2007
Format: Hardcover
Spanish Fly is Will Ferguson's captivating and funny new novel, deserving the accolades of his debut novel, Generica a.k.a. Happiness.This new shrewd but silly tale weaves the desperation of the poverty of the Great Depression/Dust Bowl years in the American S.W. (W.F. explains his choice of location in his afterwords)with the story of young,bright,handsome,smalltown Jack McGreary finding his purpose in life. Jack tags along with experienced con artists Virgil Ray and Miss Rose to learn as Virgil says," When 'they' hand you their money willingly, it doesn't count as stealing." Jack's got the head for increasingly complex cons but does he have the heart for them? Herein lies the tension which makes the pages turn quickly to make this book such a satisfying read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 22 2011
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed Will Ferguson's "Spanish Fly" as my first encounter with his writing. His literary style is a combination of rapier wit and sardonic humor that combines the wisdom of Will Rogers and the slapstick of vaudeville. The reader gets to follow a young man's quest for personal greatness during the Great Depression. Ferguson chooses the Great American Plains as his setting because they serve up all that is physically and socially challenging to the human desire to succeed. The novel is full of moments of excitement, allurement, despair, and fear as young Jack McGreary attempts to chart his course through life. Growing up in a little hay-seed of a Prairie town forces him to dream outside his own narrow existence. He starts out by opting for knowledge in books as his ticket to future success. Then he becomes infatuated with a local girl who works at the library only to realize that such aspirations will require money in order to happen. At the same time, nagging at him is a latent desire to go to war to fight tyranny. Essentially, Jack is a much conflicted adolescent who is about to fall into the clutches of Virgil and Rose, two very clever con artists who recognize and know how to exploit talent and desire, of which Jack has plenty. The narrative becomes a fast-paced Bonnie-and-Clyde hunt for the next victim as this trio moves from desolate town to desolate town. They have at their disposal a multitude of tricks - a few fascinating, most unbelievably stupid - by which to hoodwink their unsuspecting clients. Everybody in these desperate times, it seems, is willing to part with the little money they have in order to cash in on the promise of extraordinary wealth around the corner. Kind of reminds you of the times we're currently living in where greed is king.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Quite different from the run-of-the-mill novels. Certainly recommend this book to those who think out of the box sometimes...and are not too conventional.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everyone should read this book. This edition is printed in America but in England the title is The Hustle. One of his best books.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Ferguson keeps getting better! June 17 2008
By Marc A. Laplante - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
i just stumbled upon Ferguson's early work "Happiness" in a second hand book shop, and really enjoyed it. It was witty, populated with characters that were suitably flawed and human, and a plot that kept you reading.
His latest is even better - with a wonderfully crafted backdrop of the late 1930's in the dust-bowl hard scramble U.S. Ferguson creates a foreshadowing of a dark cloud of a coming war, through small clips of events in Europe. (Ferguson is slightly off on some historical details in these snippets, but they still are used to good effect).
Essentially a story of a small town young man who meets with a pair of grifters and discovers much about life, human nature and himself.
An absolute pleasure to read!

Marc L.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Stunning Dec 5 2013
By VG - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Really, I was amazed when I read Spanish Fly. I had already read two of Ferguson's jokey books about Canadians, and while they were enjoyable, I had him down as a lightweight.

I was dead wrong. I was absolutely astonished by Spanish Fly. The intricacy of the plot, the fineness of the writing, the level of research that must have been required and the believable, nuanced, deftly-turned characters left me amazed. I had no idea Ferguson had this sort of thing in him. This is worthy of Richler or Atwood or Robertson Davies (which might actually make Ferguson shudder!). It's highly accomplished storytelling and writing. The scams pulled by the characters and the way that the characters play off of each other leads page by delicious page to the inevitable showdown.

I have not yet read 419, but if he won the Giller for that and not this, it must be something else again.
Scamming at its best....old style Feb. 5 2013
By Douglas Goss - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ferguson's novel is a masterpiece of storytelling well tied together from beginning to end and one that's hard to put down once you start. Fiction it may be but it is historically accurate and reflects the time of the depression and life in rural American in the days of Roosevelt and the ABC work plan he implemented during the Great Depression. Great characters depicted in the story and while the schemes of the con artists are a bit hard to follow by times it was well worth the read.
Rabbitt April 23 2012
By Rabitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Spanish fly is a well written book. A very good story.reminds me of el Doctorow. I wish it was available in ebooks for easier reading

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