The Good, the Bad, and the Hungry Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lauren Owen: IMG The Other Vampire



It's a wild and thundery night. Inside a ramshackle old manor house, a beautiful young girl lies asleep in bed. At the window, a figure watches... Continue »

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$15.95
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
7 Local Warehouse Literature- A to Z
25 Remote Warehouse Literature- A to Z

Bridge of Sighs (Vintage Contemporaries)

by

Bridge of Sighs (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover

 

Staff Pick

Russo is a modern master of absorbing characters, brilliantly sharp dialogue, and a warm-hearted yet strangely thrilling storytelling style. The only sighs this elegiac novel produces are of wistful satisfaction.
Recommended by Chris Bolton, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Louis Charles Lynch (also known as Lucy) is sixty years old and has lived in Thomaston, New York, his entire life. He and Sarah, his wife of forty years, are about to embark on a vacation to Italy. Lucy's oldest friend, once a rival for his wife's affection, leads a life in Venice far removed from Thomaston. Perhaps for this reason Lucy is writing the story of his town, his family, and his own life that makes up this rich and mesmerizing novel, interspersed with that of the native son who left so long ago and has never looked back.

Bridge of Sighs, from the beloved, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls, is a moving novel about small-town America that expands Russo's widely heralded achievement in ways both familiar and astonishing.

Review:

"Signature Reviewed by Jeffrey Frank Richard Russo's portraits of smalltown life may be read not only as fine novels but as invaluable guides to the economic decline of the American Northeast. Russo was reared in Gloversville, N.Y. (which got its name from the gloves no longer manufactured there), and a lot of mid — 20th-century Gloversville can be found in his earlier fiction (Mohawk; The Risk Pool). It reappears in Bridge of Sighs, Russo's splendid chronicle of life in the hollowed-out town of Thomaston, N.Y., where a tannery's runoff is slowly spreading carcinogenic ruin.At the novel's center is Lou C. Lynch (his middle initial wins him the unfortunate, lasting nickname 'Lucy'), but the narrative, which covers more than a half-century, also unfolds through the eyes of Lou's somewhat distant and tormented friend, Bobby Marconi, as well as Sarah Berg, a gifted artist who Lou marries and who loves Bobby, too. The lives of the Lynches, the Bergs and the Marconis intersect in various ways, few of them happy; each family has its share of woe. Lou's father, a genial milkman, is bound for obsolescence and leads his wife into a life of shopkeeping; Bobby's family is being damaged by an abusive father. Sarah moves between two parents: a schoolteacher father with grandiose literary dreams and a scandal in his past and a mother who lives in Long Island and leads a life that is far from exemplary. Russo weaves all of this together with great sureness, expertly planting clues — and explosives, too — knowing just when and how they will be discovered or detonate at the proper time. Incidents from youth — a savage beating, a misunderstood homosexual advance, a loveless seduction — have repercussions that last far into adulthood. Thomaston itself becomes a sort of extended family, whose unhappy members include the owners of the tannery who eventually face ruin.Bridge of Sighs is a melancholy book; the title refers to a painting that Bobby is making (he becomes a celebrated artist) and the Venetian landmark, but also to the sadness that pervades even the most contented lives. Lou, writing about himself and his dying, blue-collar town, thinks that 'the loss of a place isn't really so different from the loss of a person. Both disappear without permission, leaving the self diminished, in need of testimony and evidence.' If there are false notes, they come with Russo's portrayal of African-Americans, who too often speak like stock characters: ('Doan be given me that hairy eyeball like you doan believe, 'cause I know better,' says one). But Russo has a deep and real understanding of stifled ambitions and the secrets people keep, sometimes forever. Bridge of Sighs, on every page, is largehearted, vividly populated and filled with life from America's recent, still vanishing past. Jeffrey Frank's books include The Columnist and Bad Publicity. His novel, Trudy Hopedale, was published in July by Simon & Schuster. " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Richard Russo was already the patron saint of small-town fiction, but with his new novel, 'Bridge of Sighs' — his first since the Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Empire Falls' — he's produced his most American story. Once again he places us in a finely drawn community that's unable to adjust to economic changes, and with insight and sensitivity he describes ordinary people struggling to get by. But more... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"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)

Review:

"Russo makes sexual ambiguity feel homey and familiar, and he does it here with consequences more emotionally weighty than ever before. His novels have that pleasurable roominess of books rich in story and quick in prose style, but in Bridge of Sighs, he crosses from bittersweet comedy to the realm of tragedy." O Magazine

Review:

"A great American story....Beautiful, funny, profound and, in the end, quietly devastating. It's a book built to endure." People Magazine

Review:

"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

Review:

"[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

Review:

"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

Review:

"[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

Review:

"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

Synopsis:

Tommy Ogden, a Gatsbyesque character living in a mansion outside robber-baron-era Chicago, declines to give his wife the money to commission a bust of herself from the French master Rodin and announces instead his intention to endow a boys school. Ogdens decision reverberates years later in the life of Lee Goodell, whose coming of age is at the heart of Ward Justs emotionally potent new novel. 

Lees life decisionsto become a sculptor, to sojourn in the mean streets of the South Side, to marry into the haute-intellectual culture of Hyde Parkplay out against the crude glamour of midcentury Chicago. Justs signature skill of conveying emotional heft with few words is put into play as Lee confronts the meaning of his four years at Ogden Hall School under the purview, in the school library, of a bust known as Rodins Debutante. And, especially, as he meets again a childhood friend, the victim of a brutal sexual assault of which she has no memory. It was a crime marking the end of Lees boyhood and the beginning of his understandingso powerfully under the surface of Justs masterly storythat how and what we remember add up to nothing less than our very lives.

About the Author

Richard Russo lives with his wife in coastal Maine. He is available for lectures and readings thorugh the Knopf Speaker's Bureau.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Elliot, January 4, 2011 (view all comments by Elliot)
Doesn't get any better than this story focused on the multilayered, life-affirming portraits of some "ordinary" people. Humor, pathos, the works.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
smaasch, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by smaasch)
another great richard russo book. his writing is fabulous. read it!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
grendel, January 13, 2009 (view all comments by grendel)
Richard Russo's latest novel seamlessly interweaves the personal histories of three very different families, all of them affected by the changing times and ultimate downfall of a fictional town in upstate New York.

This is a mammoth work of more than 600 pages that is so fluid, absorbing and flat-out readable that is as enjoyable to pass the time with as a smooth glass of wine is to drink. The characters feel like people you may have known in your own hometown, but Russo avoids any manner of cliche in relating their stories.

There is "Lucy" Lynch, the boy unlucky enough to have the nickname stick when in grade school a teacher announced his name "Lou" along with his middle initial "C". This seemingly innocuous moment would resonate and come to represent the whole of Lucy's life as a lovable but gullible and vulnerable boy affected by strange "spells" that leave him adrift from time and reality when under stress. He is the chronicler of the town of Thomaston's history, but the reader gradually comes to understand that his devotion to his home town, and reluctance to leave it even for a brief time, has distorted and veiled the more traumatic events that have occurred there, especially his own.

We also get to know his boy-hood friend Bobby, who grows up to be a world famous painter with demons from his own past that send him into night terrors when he sleeps, and a connection to Lucy's wife Sarah that threatens to upend all their worlds.

Sarah herself is one of the most original female characters to populate a novel in many years...at once devoted to her husband, but independent of spirit and the product of a tortured marriage, she provides a common grounding to everyone around her while forging her own path beyond the confines of the town.

"Bridge of Sighs" paints a most vivid picture of the American Dream, its shortcomings and promises, along with a portrait of the fragility of love and its consequences. It provides enough twists of fortune and destiny to keep the reader engaged in its grip until the final page.

It is also Russo's most heartbreaking yet compassionate novel to date. An absolute must-read for his fans and newcomers alike.


Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(10 of 17 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400030903
Author:
Russo, Richard
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Author:
Just, Ward
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
City and town life
Subject:
Friendship
Subject:
New york (state)
Subject:
Italy
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries
Publication Date:
20080931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
656
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 0.98 lb

Other books you might like

  1. When We Were Romans Used Hardcover $6.50
  2. The Abstinence Teacher Used Trade Paper $1.50
  3. The Gathering
    Used Trade Paper $3.50
  4. Out Stealing Horses
    Used Trade Paper $3.50
  5. City of Thieves
    Used Hardcover $6.95
  6. The Yiddish Policemen's Union (P.S.)
    Used Trade Paper $2.50

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Bridge of Sighs (Vintage Contemporaries) New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.95 In Stock
Product details 656 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9781400030903 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Russo is a modern master of absorbing characters, brilliantly sharp dialogue, and a warm-hearted yet strangely thrilling storytelling style. The only sighs this elegiac novel produces are of wistful satisfaction.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Signature Reviewed by Jeffrey Frank Richard Russo's portraits of smalltown life may be read not only as fine novels but as invaluable guides to the economic decline of the American Northeast. Russo was reared in Gloversville, N.Y. (which got its name from the gloves no longer manufactured there), and a lot of mid — 20th-century Gloversville can be found in his earlier fiction (Mohawk; The Risk Pool). It reappears in Bridge of Sighs, Russo's splendid chronicle of life in the hollowed-out town of Thomaston, N.Y., where a tannery's runoff is slowly spreading carcinogenic ruin.At the novel's center is Lou C. Lynch (his middle initial wins him the unfortunate, lasting nickname 'Lucy'), but the narrative, which covers more than a half-century, also unfolds through the eyes of Lou's somewhat distant and tormented friend, Bobby Marconi, as well as Sarah Berg, a gifted artist who Lou marries and who loves Bobby, too. The lives of the Lynches, the Bergs and the Marconis intersect in various ways, few of them happy; each family has its share of woe. Lou's father, a genial milkman, is bound for obsolescence and leads his wife into a life of shopkeeping; Bobby's family is being damaged by an abusive father. Sarah moves between two parents: a schoolteacher father with grandiose literary dreams and a scandal in his past and a mother who lives in Long Island and leads a life that is far from exemplary. Russo weaves all of this together with great sureness, expertly planting clues — and explosives, too — knowing just when and how they will be discovered or detonate at the proper time. Incidents from youth — a savage beating, a misunderstood homosexual advance, a loveless seduction — have repercussions that last far into adulthood. Thomaston itself becomes a sort of extended family, whose unhappy members include the owners of the tannery who eventually face ruin.Bridge of Sighs is a melancholy book; the title refers to a painting that Bobby is making (he becomes a celebrated artist) and the Venetian landmark, but also to the sadness that pervades even the most contented lives. Lou, writing about himself and his dying, blue-collar town, thinks that 'the loss of a place isn't really so different from the loss of a person. Both disappear without permission, leaving the self diminished, in need of testimony and evidence.' If there are false notes, they come with Russo's portrayal of African-Americans, who too often speak like stock characters: ('Doan be given me that hairy eyeball like you doan believe, 'cause I know better,' says one). But Russo has a deep and real understanding of stifled ambitions and the secrets people keep, sometimes forever. Bridge of Sighs, on every page, is largehearted, vividly populated and filled with life from America's recent, still vanishing past. Jeffrey Frank's books include The Columnist and Bad Publicity. His novel, Trudy Hopedale, was published in July by Simon & Schuster. " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Russo makes sexual ambiguity feel homey and familiar, and he does it here with consequences more emotionally weighty than ever before. His novels have that pleasurable roominess of books rich in story and quick in prose style, but in Bridge of Sighs, he crosses from bittersweet comedy to the realm of tragedy."
"Review" by , "A great American story....Beautiful, funny, profound and, in the end, quietly devastating. It's a book built to endure."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "[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+)"
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "[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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by ,
Tommy Ogden, a Gatsbyesque character living in a mansion outside robber-baron-era Chicago, declines to give his wife the money to commission a bust of herself from the French master Rodin and announces instead his intention to endow a boys school. Ogdens decision reverberates years later in the life of Lee Goodell, whose coming of age is at the heart of Ward Justs emotionally potent new novel. 

Lees life decisionsto become a sculptor, to sojourn in the mean streets of the South Side, to marry into the haute-intellectual culture of Hyde Parkplay out against the crude glamour of midcentury Chicago. Justs signature skill of conveying emotional heft with few words is put into play as Lee confronts the meaning of his four years at Ogden Hall School under the purview, in the school library, of a bust known as Rodins Debutante. And, especially, as he meets again a childhood friend, the victim of a brutal sexual assault of which she has no memory. It was a crime marking the end of Lees boyhood and the beginning of his understandingso powerfully under the surface of Justs masterly storythat how and what we remember add up to nothing less than our very lives.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.