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10 thoughts on “Spanish Fly

  1. says:

    Growing up in Texas during the Great Depression Jack McGreary is a very bright young man with an erratic father who's fallen hard for the Drake Gold scam His father's dreams of a building a house have gone up with the dust of topsoil that blows across the once fertile prairies all the way into Canada There's nothing in the small town of Paradise Flats itself the scene of many swindles to hold Jack So in 1939 when Virgil Ray and Rose pass through the town conning shopkeepers out of their money Jack easily figuring out the swindle doesn't just help them; he joins themWith their liar as Virgil pronounces it lair above a diner run by a Chinaman in Silver City New Mexico the three drive their Nash Ambassador across the states of the American southwest pulling cons and dancing to jazz everywhere they go with the rise of Nazi Germany buzzing in the background With Jack's brains at work they start pulling bigger and cleverer heists until one last ploy lands them in the middle of murder and Jack's not sure whether he's being played by Virgil and RoseFerguson has deftly recreated an era with intimate and what is probably flawless detail a finely crafted historical novel exploring the Golden Age of the Con and the cons are all real as are the swindlers that pepper Virgil's talk when he gets going The speech patterns the bits and pieces of history in the form of ads cars now obsolete war attitudes etc all adds to the feel and tone of a novel that reads like it's walked straight out of the Dirty Thirties This is a work of exhaustive research and intimate knowledge and as such it's an amazing piece of workBut that is also the problem with the book While it's generally enjoyable to read and study history through fiction especially when it's this well researched and reconstructed the downfall of this book is that Ferguson seems enamoured of the era and the cons and interested in sueezing in all his fine research than in constructing a truly interesting and engaging protagonist and a gripping plot Hence my three stars and the main reason why it took me so long to read the damn thingJack has the bones of a memorable character but he's never fully fleshed out As the narrator we get a lot of insights through him and as a bright fella who uestions theology and human nature he provides uite the commentary But it's still flat You don't really learn all that much about Jack himself Sure we get his upbringing his parents' story but it's all in the context of setting the scene the black blizzards the rise and fall of Paradise Flats and the south the Great Depression the scams and swindles that set the stage for Virgil and Rose It has that contrived feel like Jack is a structural device for the history rather than the other way around The Con is the real hero of the story not Jack Even when he's learning wooing techniues from Ovid in the town library to win over the librarian's daughter Rebecca it's still setting up details that will come into play later and the entire plotline is only there because it helps explain how Jack ended up with Rose and VirgilThat's not to say that I didn't enjoy the story or appreciate the work that went into it I'm very impressed But Ferguson gets so excited about the cons and Virgil's shady past and the next trick that he seems to forget Jack's there half the time I'm not entirely sure that the novel needed to be written in first person even But why Jack? Do we need Jack? He's a mere vehicle a medium through which to cross time and view this fascinating world that was so much a product of a time and place and culture It hasn't entirely disappeared either; it's just taken different forms and perhaps higher stakes Enron anyone? And Bernard Madoff is currently on trial in New York for a long running Ponzi scamI learnt a lot about the period one of the main reasons why I read it and with Kathryn's help I could even understand some words that would otherwise have been unfamiliar like skeeters mozzies If you're interested in the 30s or the southwest states of America you'll love this book If you love stories of heists cons swindles tricks you'll love this book If you get caught up on the motivations of key characters character growth emotional growth all of that then you might be disappointed but it's still worth a readAs a final point the author says that the character of Jack first appeared as a minor character in his previous novel Happiness It's about an editor who publishes a self help book that actually works or maybe it's about the book I got the sense from reading the blurb that again it's not a person who's the star Has anyone read this and is it any good? I didn't get the impression it was set in the same period as this book but maybe Ferguson took artistic licence with the character?


  2. says:

    spanish fly recounts the adventures of one young jim mcgreary a poor but strapping young man who grows up in the depression era dustbowl in the US in the blink and you miss it town of paradise flats its residents suckered by speculators who promised it would be a boom town jack's grown up not having much of anything and at the age of 19 eventually ditches his crazy widowed father and his hometown girl to join up with a couple of grifters that introduce themselves as virgil and rose but have a host of other names a few that might even be real the main action of the novel concerns these three driving around the south jack learning about the grifting life under their tutelage eventually showing his own flair for scamming by coming up with new schemes to add to their repertoire including the spanish fly scam that gives the books its titleyou can tell that ferguson did due diligence to his research of the era and the subject of grifting he knows the difference between the short con and the long and has virgil educate jack and the readers in the description of many classic cons perhaps a few too many since some have no bearing on the action of the novel dragging it out in some ways the book is a road trip through a grifting encyclopedia and i never do really find out where i'm goingthe central uestion seems to whether jack's cut out for the life of a grifter duping rubes continually gaming the system for his own benefit and always being ready to run; and whether it's enough for him when outside of that insular life world war II is brewing and people are still struggling to make an honest wage; and beyond even that is the problem of pascal's wager and jack's own morality i think the author handles this well except for one significant factor i don't really care about jack he doesn't make a lot of sense to me and i never really understand why he's there or rose or virgil though of the characters he is the liveliest or really anybody in this novel i don't relate to them they aren't boring characters but they don't have a lot of emotional impact either and for all jack's deep thoughts i never know what he really cares about i know he feels sort of responsible to some people and some things but he's never really involved in the way i need him to be and as a conseuence i found myself unable to be as involved in his story as i wanted to be if you're not looking for a lot of emotional resonance and you're hankering for trip down dusty roads with antiue cars stopping in at carnivals and juke joints and eating a few pies this may be the book for you


  3. says:

    Best known for his humorous travel writing Will Ferguson shifted away from his preferred genre and wrote a historical fiction book set during The Great Depression Ferguson's writing isn't dumbed down to Dan Brown levels but it won't leave you reaching for a dictionary at every turn of the page either This story follows three professional con artists in the mid west during the depression The characters are developed in such a realistic and rich way that the reader feels a connection with them and wants to know how their story unfolds I consider this book a sleeper in the sense that I wasn't blown away with it or with any one part However I looked forward to reading it day in and day out When I finished the book I still thought about the characters for days afterwards which is always a sign of a good book


  4. says:

    Humor and a wonderfully entertaining look at depression era America and the scam game Characters were 3D and attractive A lot of research must have been done to include so much detail of the era Some fabulous phrases Suprising ending One of my top ten reads


  5. says:

    Very very entertaining and a good way to learn about some of the thousands of ways to con people Set in the US during the 2nd World War before the US entered the war but the war is only a backdrop this is not a war novel The ending seemed a bit out of step with the tone of the book and the storyline to that point


  6. says:

    I enjoyed this book so much than I expected After the first few pages I wasn't sure if was for me but in the end I couldn't put it down I thought it was much better than Happiness


  7. says:

    I liked it It wasn't that unpredictable but was funny and the narratorreader was excellent The music on the audiodisc was a nice surprise too


  8. says:

    Wonderful writing Ferguson's turn of phrase had me laughing all the way Just a great story teller


  9. says:

    I wasn't sure I'd like this or get into it but it was a good read an interesting story and a bit of fun The characters were a bit two dimensional but I wanted to be entertained and so they didn't disappoint and I'll remember them for a long time Virgil and Rose travelling state to state pulling cons and then they bring in Jack I like the transformation of Jack his growth his uick thinking and his decision in the end The cons were interesting looking at humans and their predictable means of thinking and being able to play on that I found very amusing Being stuck in a reading rut this helped get me back into a nightly habit of reading and is just what was needed I would recommend it for in between heavier reads to lighten the load a little


  10. says:

    The Depression the dustbowl a handful of con artists Spanish Fly is a compelling read hilarious rich in historical detail and oh so smart Will Ferguson makes me feel like I'm watching a card trick the way he keeps on surprising me even though I'm watching so closely


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Characters õ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ☆ Will Ferguson

With them instead Together they go on a crime spree across the Southwest staging a series of inventive and often hilarious cons while sexual tension between Jack and Miss Rose grows Someone is being set I wasn't sure I'd like this or get into it but it was a good read an interesting story and a bit of fun The characters were a bit two dimensional but I wanted to be entertained and so they didn't disappoint and I'll remember them for a long time Virgil and Rose travelling state to state pulling cons and then they bring in Jack I like the transformation of Jack his growth his uick thinking and his decision in the end The cons were interesting looking at humans and their predictable means of thinking and being able to play on that I found very amusing Being stuck in a reading rut this helped get me back into a nightly habit of reading and is just what was needed I would recommend it for in between heavier reads to lighten the load a little Lost Innocence pulling cons and then they bring in Jack I like the transformation of Jack his growth his uick thinking and his decision in the end The cons were interesting looking at humans and their Woman of Iron predictable means of thinking and being able to Seasons in the Sun play on that I found very amusing Being stuck in a reading rut this helped get me back into a nightly habit of reading and is just what was needed I would recommend it for in between heavier reads to lighten the load a little

Free read Spanish Fly

Spanish Fly

Raised by his father in the dying town of Paradise Flats Jack McGreary has learned to live by his wits The year is 1939 Drought has turned America’s heartland into a dust bowl and the world is on the b spanish fly recounts the adventures of one young jim mcgreary a poor but strapping young man who grows up in the depression era dustbowl in the US in the blink and you miss it town of paradise flats its residents suckered by speculators who promised it would be a boom town jack's grown up not having much of anything and at the age of 19 eventually ditches his crazy widowed father and his hometown girl to join up with a couple of grifters that introduce themselves as virgil and rose but have a host of other names a few that might even be real the main action of the novel concerns these three driving around the south jack learning about the grifting life under their tutelage eventually showing his own flair for scamming by coming up with new schemes to add to their repertoire including the spanish fly scam that gives the books its titleyou can tell that ferguson did due diligence to his research of the era and the subject of grifting he knows the difference between the short con and the long and has virgil educate jack and the readers in the description of many classic cons perhaps a few too many since some have no bearing on the action of the novel dragging it out in some ways the book is a road trip through a grifting encyclopedia and i never do really find out where i'm goingthe central uestion seems to whether jack's cut out for the life of a grifter duping rubes continually gaming the system for his own benefit and always being ready to run; and whether it's enough for him when outside of that insular life world war II is brewing and people are still struggling to make an honest wage; and beyond even that is the problem of pascal's wager and jack's own morality i think the author handles this well except for one significant factor i don't really care about jack he doesn't make a lot of sense to me and i never really understand why he's there or rose or virgil though of the characters he is the liveliest or really anybody in this novel i don't relate to them they aren't boring characters but they don't have a lot of emotional impact either and for all jack's deep thoughts i never know what he really cares about i know he feels sort of responsible to some people and some things but he's never really involved in the way i need him to be and as a conseuence i found myself unable to be as involved in his story as i wanted to be if you're not looking for a lot of emotional resonance and you're hankering for trip down dusty roads with antiue cars stopping in at carnivals and juke joints and eating a few pies this may be the book for you The West (3rd Edition) poor but strapping young man who grows up in the depression era dustbowl in the US in the blink and you miss it town of The Maddest Idea (Revolution at Sea paradise flats its residents suckered by speculators who The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running promised it would be a boom town jack's grown up not having much of anything and at the age of 19 eventually ditches his crazy widowed father and his hometown girl to join up with a couple of grifters that introduce themselves as virgil and rose but have a host of other names a few that might even be real the main action of the novel concerns these three driving around the south jack learning about the grifting life under their tutelage eventually showing his own flair for scamming by coming up with new schemes to add to their repertoire including the spanish fly scam that gives the books its titleyou can tell that ferguson did due diligence to his research of the era and the subject of grifting he knows the difference between the short con and the long and has virgil educate jack and the readers in the description of many classic cons A Biggles Omnibus perhaps a few too many since some have no bearing on the action of the novel dragging it out in some ways the book is a road trip through a grifting encyclopedia and i never do really find out where i'm goingthe central uestion seems to whether jack's cut out for the life of a grifter duping rubes continually gaming the system for his own benefit and always being ready to run; and whether it's enough for him when outside of that insular life world war II is brewing and The Power of Soft people are still struggling to make an honest wage; and beyond even that is the Moscow, December 25, 1991 problem of Planetary Forces, Alchemy and Healing pascal's wager and jack's own morality i think the author handles this well except for one significant factor i don't really care about jack he doesn't make a lot of sense to me and i never really understand why he's there or rose or virgil though of the characters he is the liveliest or really anybody in this novel i don't relate to them they aren't boring characters but they don't have a lot of emotional impact either and for all jack's deep thoughts i never know what he really cares about i know he feels sort of responsible to some The Shepherds Bush Murders people and some things but he's never really involved in the way i need him to be and as a conseuence i found myself unable to be as involved in his story as i wanted to be if you're not looking for a lot of emotional resonance and you're hankering for trip down dusty roads with antiue cars stopping in at carnivals and juke joints and eating a few Red Centre (Alpha Force, pies this may be the book for you

Characters õ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ☆ Will Ferguson

Rink of war Jack’s father wants him to head north to Canada to sign up in the fight against Fascism But when a pair of fast talking swindlers named Virgil and Miss Rose blow through town Jack falls in Very very entertaining and a good way to learn about some of the thousands of ways to con people Set in the US during the 2nd World War before the US entered the war but the war is only a backdrop this is not a war novel The ending seemed a bit out of step with the tone of the book and the storyline to that point