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Bridge of Sighs: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – August 12, 2008


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Bridge of Sighs: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) + Empire Falls + Straight Man: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries
  • Paperback: 641 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (August 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400030900
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400030903
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Significant Seven, November 2007: Richard Russo's first book since the Pulitzer Prize-winning Empire Falls, Bridge of Sighs is a typically stunning portrait of three small town families struggling--like the town itself--to strike a balance between obsessively embracing their own history or shunning it entirely, with devastating consequences along both paths. Bridge of Sighs is pure Russo: funny, heartbreaking, and ringing completely true. --Jon Foro


--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The challenge facing those who perform Russo's novels is the self-effacing, low-key nature of his protagonists. The line between a faithful rendition of the character and a snoozer may be as narrow as the street that divides the rich from the poor in Russo's upstate New York town of Thomaston. Unfortunately, Morey's performance finds itself the poor side of the tracks. Lou C. (Lucy) Lynch's narration of events is read in an even, objective tone as if Morey were reading the evening news on an amateur radio show. He does emphasize words and ideas, but the overall effect is monotonous and doesn't do justice to Russo's rich material. Morey's narrative voice for Bobby, Lucy's childhood friend and nemesis, is deeper but more of the same. Morey gives a bit more energy to the third narrator, Sarah, Lou's wife. The result is more soporific than a Thanksgiving turkey, and getting through Russo's sharp account of the factory towns he knows so well becomes more a chore than a pleasure.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Rick Russo is the author of six previous novels and THE WHORE'S CHILD, a collection of stories. In 2002, he received the Pulitzer Prize for EMPIRE FALLS. He lives with his wife in Camden, Maine, and Boston.
Photo credit Elena Seibert

Customer Reviews

The characters, to me were so real.
Irene K. Rossi
This book was so good that I think it has ruined me for other books.
da1403
Too many characters who had little to do with the story at the end.
Carol Ann Summers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

306 of 328 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Baird VINE VOICE on October 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I don't think that anyone could dispute that there are countless advantages to achieving literary success, but the flip side of that coin is that that there are disadvantages as well, some of which are born of those aforementioned perks. Winning a prestigious award like, say, the Pulitzer Prize, which Richard Russo did in 2002 for his previous novel, Empire Falls, gives an author freedom to explore the range of their talents without the interference of an editor. This is a blessing, no doubt, but can also be a hindrance for a writer like Russo, who has a tendency to get so caught up in his lush storytelling that it may come across as endless rambling to the casual reader. That he actually has a firm grasp on the plot no longer matters, because that impatient reader will already be lost to the story. And that's quite a shame when it comes to "Bridge of Sighs" since it's actually quite a good novel despite the fact that a good editor could have pruned some passages here and tightened a few plot-points there. The first hundred pages in particular are a little slow, but stick with it. Russo is one of the best storytellers in current fiction, and trusting him a little will be well worth the early effort.

After winning the Pulitzer Prize Russo took a gamble on a different format with a short story collection entitled The Whore's Child: Stories, which was an unfortunate misfire for him, an author who truly shines when he sticks to what he knows best, and in that regard "Sighs" is a glorious return to form.
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57 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Oregon Writer on November 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
After having this book on my shopping list, waiting for its release, I was excited when I opened the package to see the cover of Bridge of Sighs. I sat down immediately to begin this big book. Richard Russo KNOWS small towns, and how they work, and how the people interact and love and hate and exist. Empire Falls has intrigued me each of the times I have read it, and the movie is wonderful as well, being superbly cast.

Bridge of Sighs falls short. Way short. I put it back on the shelf twice, having given up on it. Yet, I kept wondering what happens when they all get to Italy, so I retrieved it and started in once again. Well, you who have read it know what happens so I won't divulge that here. Suffice it to say I was disappointed.

And bored. I hate to admit it but yes, I was bored by this book. This small town was somehow less relevant, and the relationships were all strained and unhappy. Weird, even. I was bored by the people and bored by their problems. I felt that conclusions about causation were wrong, and weakened the book.

I will always run right out and buy a Richard Russo book, but I hope next time I will be more richly rewarded.
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92 of 107 people found the following review helpful By D. Mahoney on September 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Russo once said: "When a favorite author of mine comes out with a new book, I always hope for two contradictory things: first, I hope it's like all the other books of his or hers that I love, and second, I hope he's not going to repeat himself. Sure, it's a paradox, but I suspect I'm not alone in my desires."

Bridge of Sighs is exactly that--a great book that'll feel both familiar and fresh to Russo readers. I'm a long-time fan of his books and Bridge of Sighs is everything I hoped it would be; it's also a book I'd press on anyone who hasn't read his previous work. Highly recommended.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia K. Robertson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Richard Russo has not only become one of my favorite two authors (along with Pat Conroy), but the Bridge of Sighs is one of the best books that I've read this year. Russo is not as prolific as other authors, but his books are worth the wait.

The Bridge of Sighs is told in two voices--Louis C. Lynch (Lucy) and Robert Noonan.
The book starts with the boys as neighbors and elementary schoolmates in the dying fictional tannery town in upstate New York, Thomaston. Most of the story belongs to 60 year old Lucy, who is writing the story of his life. Lucy was never popular and while intelligent, he was more of a plodder. His best and only friend Bobby was brash, over-confident and a fighter. He would also disappear for periods of Lucy's life. During high school, Lucy and Bobby teamed up with Sarah Berg, who becomes Lucy's wife and also figures prominently in the story. Lucy comes from the most stable family, and their family grocery store, Ikey Lubin's, becomes a home for them all. "It was clear that she [Sarah] loved not only the Lynches but also Ikey Lubin's, as if the store satisfied some deep craving, and everything she could ever imagine was right there on the shelves."

While writing his life's story, Lucy and wife Sara are planning a trip to Venice. Lucy's childhood friend is now a famous artist living in this enchanting city. But Lucy does not like leaving Thomaston and his family suspects that he will do something to sabotage the trip. Little does anyone know the scars they all carry from childhood and how that baggage still affects their lives. Also, there are still unresolved issues between Lucy, Sarah and Bobby that need to be addressed.
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