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The Invisible Bridge

by

The Invisible Bridge Cover

 

Awards

Staff Pick

The Invisible Bridge is jaw-droppingly impressive. Orringer is a hugely talented writer, able to wrangle epic themes — love and war, tragedy and redemption — and tame them with her deft, evocative prose. Her debut novel is cinematic, heart-wrenching, and utterly alive with sensory detail. I implore you: don't miss it.
Recommended by Sheila A., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Julie Orringer's astonishing first novel — eagerly awaited since the publication of her heralded best-selling short-story collection, How to Breathe Underwater ("Fiercely beautiful." The New York Times) — is a grand love story and an epic tale of three brothers whose lives are torn apart by war.

Paris, 1937. Andras Levi, a Hungarian Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver to C. Morgenstern on the rue de Sevigne. As he becomes involved with the letter's recipient, his elder brother takes up medical studies in Modena, their younger brother leaves school for the stage — and Europe's unfolding tragedy sends each of their lives into terrifying uncertainty. From the Hungarian village of Konyar to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the lonely chill of Andras's garret to the enduring passion he discovers on the rue de Sevigne, from the despair of a Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in forced labor camps and beyond, The Invisible Bridge tells the unforgettable story of brothers bound by history and love, of a marriage tested by disaster, of a Jewish family's struggle against annihilation, and of the dangerous power of art in a time of war.

Expertly crafted, magnificently written, emotionally haunting, and impossible to put down, The Invisible Bridge resoundingly confirms Julie Orringer's place as one of today's most vital and commanding young literary talents.

Review:

"What begins as a jewel-box romance soon breaks open into a harrowing saga of war. Orringer, drawing upon assiduous research into Hungarian history (and her own), conveys a piercing sense of what it means to be fated by one’s blood, as well as a rich understanding ot the capricious nature of survival." Vogue

Review:

"Orringer avoids bathos and has a gift for re-creating distant times and places: a Paris suffused with the scent of paprikas and the sounds of American jazz, the camraderies and cruelties of the work camps. The ticking clock of history keeps it urgent and moving forward, and the result is, against all odds, a Holocaust page-turner. Buy it." New York magazine

Review:

"A long, richly detailed debut novel from prizewinning short-story writer Orringer. . . . Her story develops without sentimentality or mawkishness, though it is full of grand emotions. Though the events of the time, especially in Hungary, are now the stuff of history books and increasingly fewer firsthand memories, Orringer writes without anachronism, and convincingly. Written with the big picture view of Doctor Zhivago or Winds of War — and likely to be one of the big books of the season." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"A hugely ambitious undertaking, but [Orringer] has every detail under control, from the architectural currents in Europe in the 1930s to the day-to-day struggle to survive. . . . Completely absorbing . . . an astonishing achievement." Booklist (starred review)

Review:

"To bring an entire lost world — its sights, its smells, its heartaches, raptures and terrors — to vivid life between the covers of a novel is an accomplishment; to invest that world, and everyone who inhabits it, with a soul, as Julie Orringer does in The Invisible Bridge, takes something more like genius." Michael Chabon

Synopsis:

Orringer's astonishing first novel is a grand love story and an epic tale of three brothers whose lives are torn apart by war. An unforgettable story of history and love, of marriage tested by disaster, of a Jewish family's struggle against annihilation, and of the dangerous power of art in a time of war.

Synopsis:

In the tradition of the great immigrant sagas, The Lion Seeker brings us Isaac Helger, son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, surviving the streets of Johannesburg in the shadow of World War II

Synopsis:

In the tradition of the great immigrant sagas, The Lion Seeker brings us Isaac Helger, son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, surviving the streets of Johannesburg in the shadow of World War II

Are you a stupid or a clever?

Such is the refrain in Isaac Helgers mind as he makes his way from redheaded hooligan to searching adolescent to striving young man on the make. His mothers question haunts every choice. Are you a stupid or a clever? Will you find a way to lift your family out of Johannesburgs poor inner city, to buy a house in the suburbs, to bring your aunts and cousins from Lithuania?

Isaacs mother is a strong woman and a scarred woman; her maimed face taunts him with a past no one will discuss. As World War II approaches, then falls upon them, they hurtle toward a catastrophic reckoning. Isaac must make decisions that, at first, only seem to be life-or-death, then actually are.

Meanwhile, South Africas history, bound up with Europes but inflected with its own accents—Afrikaans, Zulu, Yiddish, English—begins to unravel. Isaacs vibrant, working-class, Jewish neighborhood lies near the African slums; under cover of night, the slums are razed, the residents forced off to townships. Isaacs fortune-seeking takes him to the privileged seclusion of the Johannesburg suburbs, where he will court forbidden love. It partners him with the unlucky, unsinkable Hugo Bleznick, selling miracle products to suspicious farmers. And it leads him into a feud with a grayshirt Afrikaaner who insidiously undermines him in the auto shop, where Isaac has found the only work that ever felt true. And then his mothers secret, long carefully guarded, takes them to the diamond mines, where everything is covered in a thin, metallic dust, where lions wait among desert rocks, and where Isaac will begin to learn the bittersweet reality of success bought at truly any cost.

A thrilling ride through the life of one fumbling young hero, The Lion Seeker is a glorious reinvention of the classic family and coming-of-age sagas. We are caught — hearts open and wrecked — between the urgent ambitions of a mother who knows what it takes to survive and a son straining against the responsibilities of the old world, even as he is endowed with the freedoms of the new.

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About the Author

Julie Orringer is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and Cornell University, and was a Stegner Fellow in the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University. Her stories have appeared in The Paris Review, The Yale Review, Ploughshares, The Pushcart Prize anthology, and Zoetrope: All-Story. She is thirty years old and lives in San Francisco.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 9 comments:

doubled, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by doubled)
best book of 2011
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Naomi Benaron, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Naomi Benaron)
An epic historical novel following two Hungarian families in the years leading up to and then through the Holocaust. Orringer has done her research not only about the war, but about subjects as varied as dance, theater, opera, and architecture, all in their historical context. With painstaking detail of life and place, she drops the reader squarely inside her story. Her characters are beautifully wrought with all their strengths and flaws, their deep capacity for love. I could not put the book down, and it stayed with me long after I read the last word with tears in my eyes. This is a story that will break your heart but also lift you up, renewing faith in the resilience of the human spirit.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
bkwrm, December 3, 2011 (view all comments by bkwrm)
This book stays with you long after you have finished reading it.
You care about the characters and are reminded of history you
had tried to forget. It makes the horrors of World War 2 real and
focuses the reality of what humans lived through (or tragically didn't).
It reinforces how lucky we are to be living in a different century than
that and how important it is that we strive for a peaceful world.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 9 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400041169
Author:
Orringer, Julie
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Author:
Bonert, Kenneth
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
Brothers
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
hungary;fiction;wwii;historical fiction;holocaust;paris;jews;budapest;france;architecture;novel;brothers;historical;survival;love;romance;war;family;love story;europe;1930s;judaism;history
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
A)<br>&#160;<br>&ldquo;[Orringer] imbues the novel
Language:
English
Pages:
624
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1.75 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Invisible Bridge Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 624 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9781400041169 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The Invisible Bridge is jaw-droppingly impressive. Orringer is a hugely talented writer, able to wrangle epic themes — love and war, tragedy and redemption — and tame them with her deft, evocative prose. Her debut novel is cinematic, heart-wrenching, and utterly alive with sensory detail. I implore you: don't miss it.

"Review" by , "What begins as a jewel-box romance soon breaks open into a harrowing saga of war. Orringer, drawing upon assiduous research into Hungarian history (and her own), conveys a piercing sense of what it means to be fated by one’s blood, as well as a rich understanding ot the capricious nature of survival."
"Review" by , "Orringer avoids bathos and has a gift for re-creating distant times and places: a Paris suffused with the scent of paprikas and the sounds of American jazz, the camraderies and cruelties of the work camps. The ticking clock of history keeps it urgent and moving forward, and the result is, against all odds, a Holocaust page-turner. Buy it."
"Review" by , "A long, richly detailed debut novel from prizewinning short-story writer Orringer. . . . Her story develops without sentimentality or mawkishness, though it is full of grand emotions. Though the events of the time, especially in Hungary, are now the stuff of history books and increasingly fewer firsthand memories, Orringer writes without anachronism, and convincingly. Written with the big picture view of Doctor Zhivago or Winds of War — and likely to be one of the big books of the season."
"Review" by , "A hugely ambitious undertaking, but [Orringer] has every detail under control, from the architectural currents in Europe in the 1930s to the day-to-day struggle to survive. . . . Completely absorbing . . . an astonishing achievement." (starred review)
"Review" by , "To bring an entire lost world — its sights, its smells, its heartaches, raptures and terrors — to vivid life between the covers of a novel is an accomplishment; to invest that world, and everyone who inhabits it, with a soul, as Julie Orringer does in The Invisible Bridge, takes something more like genius."
"Synopsis" by , Orringer's astonishing first novel is a grand love story and an epic tale of three brothers whose lives are torn apart by war. An unforgettable story of history and love, of marriage tested by disaster, of a Jewish family's struggle against annihilation, and of the dangerous power of art in a time of war.
"Synopsis" by ,
In the tradition of the great immigrant sagas, The Lion Seeker brings us Isaac Helger, son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, surviving the streets of Johannesburg in the shadow of World War II
"Synopsis" by ,
In the tradition of the great immigrant sagas, The Lion Seeker brings us Isaac Helger, son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, surviving the streets of Johannesburg in the shadow of World War II

Are you a stupid or a clever?

Such is the refrain in Isaac Helgers mind as he makes his way from redheaded hooligan to searching adolescent to striving young man on the make. His mothers question haunts every choice. Are you a stupid or a clever? Will you find a way to lift your family out of Johannesburgs poor inner city, to buy a house in the suburbs, to bring your aunts and cousins from Lithuania?

Isaacs mother is a strong woman and a scarred woman; her maimed face taunts him with a past no one will discuss. As World War II approaches, then falls upon them, they hurtle toward a catastrophic reckoning. Isaac must make decisions that, at first, only seem to be life-or-death, then actually are.

Meanwhile, South Africas history, bound up with Europes but inflected with its own accents&#8212;Afrikaans, Zulu, Yiddish, English&#8212;begins to unravel. Isaacs vibrant, working-class, Jewish neighborhood lies near the African slums; under cover of night, the slums are razed, the residents forced off to townships. Isaacs fortune-seeking takes him to the privileged seclusion of the Johannesburg suburbs, where he will court forbidden love. It partners him with the unlucky, unsinkable Hugo Bleznick, selling miracle products to suspicious farmers. And it leads him into a feud with a grayshirt Afrikaaner who insidiously undermines him in the auto shop, where Isaac has found the only work that ever felt true. And then his mothers secret, long carefully guarded, takes them to the diamond mines, where everything is covered in a thin, metallic dust, where lions wait among desert rocks, and where Isaac will begin to learn the bittersweet reality of success bought at truly any cost.

A thrilling ride through the life of one fumbling young hero, The Lion Seeker is a glorious reinvention of the classic family and coming-of-age sagas. We are caught &#8212; hearts open and wrecked &#8212; between the urgent ambitions of a mother who knows what it takes to survive and a son straining against the responsibilities of the old world, even as he is endowed with the freedoms of the new.

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