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The Bridges of Madison County Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (September 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446364495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446364492
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 2.7 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (493 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Robert Kincaid drives through the heat and dust of an Iowa summer and turns into Francesca Johnson's farm lane looking for directions, the world-class photographer and the Iowa farm wife are joined in an experience of uncommon truth and stunning beauty that will haunt them forever. The romantic classic of the 1990's. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Quietly powerful and thoroughly credible, Waller's first novel (he previously wrote two books of essays) describes the profound love between a photographer and an Iowa farmer's wife who, together for only four days, never lose their feelings for each other. In August 1965, 52-year-old divorce Robert Kincaid packs his pickup truck and travels to Iowa's Madison County, the location of seven covered bridges he is to photograph for National Geographic . There, he asks directions of Francesca Johnson, alone at home while her husband and two children visit the Illinois State Fair. Initially, neither Robert nor Francesca expects their random encounter to lead to seduction, yet their mutual desire is undeniable. Waller tells their story as though it were nonfiction, claiming to have heard about Francesca from her children after her death, read her journals, seen Robert's relics of those four days and interviewed a jazz musician who knew the photographer. Scenes between the lovers are movingly evoked and moments with Francesca, who celebrates her birthday 22 years later by reflecting on her brief time with Robert, are particularly poignant. An erotic, bittersweet tale of lingering memories and forsaken possibilities. Photos of covered bridges serve as illustrations. 35,000 first printing.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

I heard so much about the movie, before watching it, I wanted to read this book.
R. Prasanna Kumar
The movie tells the story so much better, and leaves out only the stuff that shouldn't have been in the book in the first place.
Gryphonisle
It seems to me a very ordinary sort of romance plot and the book is not particularly well written either.
K. Gan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 58 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Gant on September 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you're a miserable cynic, you'll hate it. I am not a fiction reader. I am purely a lover of non-fiction. But a friend pleaded with me to read this book. When I finally broke down and picked up the book, I could not put it down. I finished it in about 5 hours.

People can say whatever they want about it being contrived romance, but this book puts you inside of what it feels like to be in a very intense romance that some (real) people really experience. I've been there, I know the anguish and intensity of the love this book describes. There really are people who love, speak and act this way.

People who don't get this book are bitter and angry that they can not concieve of such intense loving and living. If you love to love, and love an incredible quick read, this book is for you.

I wept for a good half hour when I finished this book despite myself. Enjoy!

-- A non-fiction loving, non-sap from New Jersey
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Vigil Swiger VINE VOICE on November 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A woman I know, along with an Amazon.com reviewer or two, couldn't comprehend how Francesca's boredom could lead her to betray her husband. Francesca was not bored, perhaps unsustained by her husband's lack of passion, but not bored. Bridges of Madison County hit the bestsellers list for years because just about everyone has parted ways with someone they loved, whether it lasted four days or ten years. True passion lives forever in the memory and can sustain for a lifetime. This story is beautiful, one of my favorites.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A friend recommended this book, trembling as she handed it to me. She thought it was the best thing she'd read in years, and she told me with tears in her eyes.
Of course there are male authors that can describe what a woman feels and be pretty close. But I felt this book was too obviously a man's speculation and probably hope of how a woman would feel in reading the story. In short I was annoyed because I felt manipulated and patronized.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book made me feel icky all over. There are certain fantasies that it's just smarter to keep private. This is one of them. I'm not sure what made me more uncomfortable, the lovers (argh, what a cliche) or the creeping sensation that it was all a big marketing ploy. Definitely not for anyone who is looking for something more than a stereotypical romance novel dressed as literature.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lottiesmom on June 29, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A terrible book: pretentious, sappy and just plain ol' poorly written. That this got to be such a sensation tells me only one thing: there are a lot of lonely, sickeningly romantic women out there who don't know crap when they read it. Anyone wonder why this author divorced? I don't.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The scariest thing about this book is that people think it's any good.
I read this book a few years ago out of curiosity to see what all the fuss was about. As I read it, I realized, to my astonishment, that the strictly standard Harlequin Romance I had read a few years previously, again out of curiosity, had been much better.
Harlequin Romances, if the one I read was any example, are at least workmanlike. You get what you pay for.
This book, on the other hand, is such an abject failure of any kind of writing that you don't know whether to laugh aloud at the writer's incompetence or cry at what has happened to people's standards of what makes a good book.
The writing is not just bad; it is stupidly, triumphantly bad. The characters are not believable and what the author has them thinking and saying is riddled with unintended comedy.
If you want to read something better than this book, go to a drugstore book rack, close your eyes, put out your hand, and take home the first paperback romance you pick up. If you want to read something much better, there are books on similar themes recommended in some of the previous reviews.
A one-star rating is far too high for this book, but it is the lowest Amazon will go.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Santilli on January 5, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is essentially worthless drivel. "He moves like a gazelle.." ?!? Is the author serious? To say the book is cliche ridden is an understatement. The writing is sophomoric and the characters are developed not in action, but in ridiculous cliched descriptions like the gazelle simile. The saddest thing is that this could have been a great story. The plot has potential. A long lost forbidden and passionate love affair, discovered after the two main players are deceased. The woman's children having to figure out what happened years ago based on their dead mother's diary. This book could have been brilliant and instead its like a bad passage from the Song of Soloman. Don't waste your time reading this rubbish.
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46 of 61 people found the following review helpful By C. Colt on January 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Robert J Waller botched his opportunity to make "The Bridges of Madison County" an interesting novel. The book contains fascinating themes of conflict including the struggle of choosing between passion and loyalty, and the difficulty of coming to terms with a mother's secret love affair. Unfortunately, rather than exploring these themes, Waller makes them the vehicle for a cardboard love story.
The hero, Robert Kinkaid might have been believable if Waller had endowed him with human qualities. Instead, Waller portrays him as a middle-aged superman: lover, artist, pacifist yet war hero, impoverished, yet glamorous, lovable but unavailable. His discourse is sometimes witty and often cheesy, but never quite believable. I know that Waller wanted to make Kinkaid engaging and appealing, but the resulting character is a two dimensional fantasy.
The Heroine Francesca is a bit more believable when she expresses her erotic feelings for Kinkaid and works through the dilemma over whether to run away with him or to dutifully remain with her husband. Unfortunately, Waller renders her character meaningless with vapid remarks about how Kinkaid should go on without her because she'll only cramp his style. The condescending manner in which she posthumously explains her love affair to her children comes across as artificial, and insulting.
I think the film version of "Bridges of Madison County" starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep succeeds where the book fails. Contrary to the book, Francesca angrily accuses Kinkaid of being selfish and egotistical-a flaw which he admits. Her objection and his subsequent admission provide the relationship with more dramatic tension and make it more believable.
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