Nobody does ‘small town’ better than Richard Russo. His books are a delight to read–multilayered, filled with interesting characters and plot development. You are never quite sure where you’re heading when you start his books, but the journey is always filled with rewards and occasional jolts of recognition and appreciation for his ability to get inside all the individuals populating the pages.
I come from a very small town, (pop. 490) and pretty much everybody knew everybody and everybody’s business. And that’s the setting for Bridge of Sighs, his most recent and wonderfully complicated book, set the small town of Thomaston, New York. For the most part the novel is narrated by Louis Charles Lynch (aka Lou C., aka Lucy Lynch) and tells the story of his life, that of his parents, and that of his wife, Sarah.
The title, Bridge of Sighs, has a number of meanings, the most obvious reference being the famous bridge in Venice where Lucy and Sarah, after 40 years of marriage, are going on a long-anticipated trip to visit an old friend–once a rival for Sarah’s affections. The second reference is to a local bridge which plays a part in one of those pivotal cruel incidents of childhood that shapes Lucy’s entire life. There are many ‘bridges’ in this book and I crossed them gladly and I hope you will take the time to share your affection for this book if you read it in hardcover last year, or, like me, had set it aside for just the right moment of enjoyment. It’s just out in paperback and this week is:
#2 New England Independent
#3 Southern California Independent
#4 Southern Independent
#11 New York Times Paperback Bestseller
A meaty discussion book (featured here) with lots of appeal for guys.
One good thing about reading this so long after its debut–I won’t have to wait long until the next Russo!