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Bridge of Sighs: A Novel
Synopses & Reviews
Six years after the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Empire Falls, Richard Russo returns with a novel that expands even further his widely heralded achievement.
Louis Charles ("Lucy") Lynch has spent all his sixty years in upstate Thomaston, New York, married to the same woman, Sarah, for forty of them, their son now a grown man. Like his late, beloved father, Lucy is an optimist, though he's had plenty of reasons not to be — chief among them his mother, still indomitably alive. Yet it was her shrewdness, combined with that Lynch optimism, that had propelled them years ago to the right side of the tracks and created an "empire" of convenience stores about to be passed on to the next generation.
Lucy and Sarah are also preparing for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy, where his oldest friend, a renowned painter, has exiled himself far from anything they'd known in childhood. In fact, the exact nature of their friendship is one of the many mysteries Lucy hopes to untangle in the "history" he's writing of his hometown and family. And with his story interspersed with that of Noonan, the native son who'd fled so long ago, the destinies building up around both of them (and Sarah, too) are relentless, constantly surprising, and utterly revealing.
Bridge of Sighs is classic Russo, coursing with small-town rhythms and the claims of family, yet it is brilliantly enlarged by an expatriate whose motivations and experiences — often contrary, sometimes not — prove every bit as mesmerizing as they resonate through these richly different lives. Here is a town, as well as a world, defined by magnificent and nearly devastating contradictions.
"While Russo's tale gets off to a slow start and the attempt to tell the parallel stories of Louis and Bobby is not always successful, Russo's novel is nevertheless a winning story of the strange ways that parents and children, lovers and friends connect and thrive." Library Journal
"That Russo manages to juggle so many characters, themes, places, and time periods through 528 delicious pages is an astounding achievement. From its lovely beginning to its exquisite, perfect end, Russo has written a masterpiece." The Boston Globe
"It is a novel of great warmth, charm and intimacy, but not one of earth-shattering revelations....Some of this book's most memorable moments take the form of sharp, funny storytelling. Some emerge more amorphously through intuitive visions." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"[Russo's] most ambitious and best work....It's a big-hearted novel, driven by vivid and complex characters....Bridge of Sighs is dramatic in a small town kind of way, which is a big part of its beauty." USA Today
"Despite the fact that its title points us to the familiar Venetian span, Bridge of Sighs settles us firmly in Richard Russo territory....Russo here is doing what he does best, putting a microscope over what looks like vacant territory and showing us the abundant life beneath the surface." Miami Herald
"[E]ngrossing....Russo writes about these characters...with such warmth that, whether it turns out to be a hellhole or heaven on earth, you're grateful to be back on his turf. (Grade: B+)" Entertainment Weekly
"While perhaps not quite the equal of Empire Falls, Bridge of Sighs is anchored by the wry humor and innate decency Russo brings to his characters....And nobody does upstate New York...better than Russo." The Christian Science Monitor
"[I]n the course of this enormous and enormously moving novel, I was continually seduced by Russo's insight and gentle humor, his ability to discern the ways we love and frustrate each other." Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World
"[A]bsorbing, bittersweet and multifaceted....[Russo] masterfully reconciles and interweaves local color and social mobility with pertinent characterization..." The San Diego Union-Tribune
"Russo makes all his characters come alive on the page. In so doing, yet again, he provides the kind of compelling company any serious reader of fiction knows doesn't come along often." Chicago Sun-Times
"As you reach the end, you want to turn back to the opening pages and start once again. Russo's ability to present individuals with dignity and grace make this a quietly astounding novel that should be on everyone's fall reading list." BookReporter.com
"Here is the novel Russo was born to write....It is a seamless interweaving of childhood memories, tragic incidents, and unforgettable dialogue that is so natural, funny, and touching that it may, perhaps, be the best of Russo's many gifts." Booklist (Starred Review)
Six years after his bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Empire Falls, Russo returns with a novel that expands his widely heralded achievement. This new work courses with small-town rhythms and the claims of family, yet it is brilliantly enlarged by an expatriate whose motivations and experiences prove every bit as mesmerizing as they resonate through these richly different lives.
About the Author
Richard Russo lives with his wife in coastal Maine.
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