A major new novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of EMPIRE FALLS, this story of parents and children, of family both benevolent and malevolent, of small-town community and its hidden toxic effects, has all the glorious heart we have come to expect from a Russo novel but with a tough new edge and a darker seam of glittering secrets. Louis Charles Lynch, aka Lucy, is sixty years old and has lived in Thomaston, upstate New York, his entire life, married to the same woman, Sarah, for forty years. Like his own father a ...
A major new novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of EMPIRE FALLS, this story of parents and children, of family both benevolent and malevolent, of small-town community and its hidden toxic effects, has all the glorious heart we have come to expect from a Russo novel but with a tough new edge and a darker seam of glittering secrets. Louis Charles Lynch, aka Lucy, is sixty years old and has lived in Thomaston, upstate New York, his entire life, married to the same woman, Sarah, for forty years. Like his own father a determined optimist, Lucy has had plenty of reasons not to be but has withstood them all, including his mother, still indomitably alive. Her husband's death dealt the Lynches another setback after they'd moved from the wrong side of the tracks to the right one, yet her brains and that Lynch optimism provided them with 'an empire' of convenience stores that Lucy is now passing to his son. But, as he says, 'the well-established rhythms of our adult lives will soon be interrupted most violently' for he and Sarah are about to leave home and travel to Rome, Florence and Venice, where his oldest friend, once a rival for his wife's affection, leads a life far removed from Thomaston. This is classic Russo, but with a new twist in the character of a painter who gladly traded his family and past away for a life in Europe. The destinies of these three soon-to-be-reunited friends are forged in their hometown in ways that are constantly surprising and utterly revealing.
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Very good book, totally interesting all the way thru. Wonderful for taking to the beach or anytime at all.
Sep 25, 2008
Overblown and overlong
Although much of the writing is well done, it is about 100 pages too long and in need of an editor. The more interesting characters are not developed while the more shallow ones are over written. The ending seems very contrived and out of character for the story. It does convey a strong sense of living in a small town in post WWII America.
Nov 24, 2007
Typical Russo Small Town
Richard Russo has pretty much done small town to death, but at least he does it well. Lacking the power of Empire Falls, Bridge of Sighs is weak simply because the characters just aren't very believable. You've got the main character Lucy, who suffers these spells (almost like absence seizures but with a more mystical quality), his wife Sarah (who may or may not be in love with his childhood best friend), the famous artist who got out (aka the best friend), and a whole bunch of other really flat people (son Owen whose marriage is slowly dissolving) etc. The plot line is pretty typical and all the endings are pretty pat, with only one moderately dark underlying current. This was slightly disappointing, because the one thing Russo can really do is surprise the reader with some malevolent side of human nature that comes out of nowhere. However the book is well written, with engaging dialog, and is an easy read.
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