Richard Russo's latest novel, Bridge of Sighs, is a superb, incredible, enjoyable, sweeping family saga. Originally published in September 2007, my hardcover edition is 528 pages. For years I have enjoyed all of Russo's novels and Bridge of Sighs is no exception. I enjoy the skill with which Russo writes and developes his characters and their story. I liked the switching between characters to tell the story. I very highly recommend Bridge of Sighs as a must read. Rating:5
The synopsis from the cover:
"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."
"But my militant ignorance on the subject of all things Italian has quickly become a game between us, one we both enjoy."
"It's possible, of course, that Bobby might prefer not to see us, his oldest friends. Not everyone, Sarah reminds me, values the past as I do. Dwells on it, she no doubt means. Loves it. Is troubled by it. Alludes to it in conversation without appropriate transition."
"Can it be that what provides for us is the very thing that poisons us? Who hasn't considered this terrible possibility?"
"I am, I believe, an intelligent man, but I'll admit this isn't always the impression I convey to others. Over the course of a lifetime a man will overhear a fair number of remarks about himself and learn from them how very wide is the gulf between his public perception and the image he hopes to project. I've always known that there's more going on inside me than finds its way into the world, but this is probably true of everyone. Who doesn't regret that he isn't more fully understood? I tend to be both self concsious and reticent."
"My parents had always argued over money, since no matter how hard they worked we always came up short at the end of the month. My father wasn't a spendthrift, but saving for a rainy day wasn't in his nature. To his way of thinking, the sun was shining most of the time. My mother had inherited from her parents the exact opposite view. To her a sunny day was a rarity. Tomorrow it would rain, and the only question was how hard. She didn't think we needed an ark necessarily, but she favored only spending money on what we really needed."
"There are a great many sins in the world, none of them original."
"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. This happened. I was there."