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Mr. Bridge: A Novel Paperback – January 13, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; Reprint edition (January 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593760604
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593760601
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By "botatoe" on April 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Evan S. Connell's "Mr. Bridge" stands, together with its companion novel, "Mrs. Bridge", as one of the outstanding works of Twentieth century American fiction. The two works, taken together, form the brilliantly wrought portrait of an upper middle class marriage in the years preceding and encompassing World War II. Linear in its narrative and meticulously realistic in its style, "Mr. Bridge" tells the story of Walter Bridge, a financially successful, but emotionally stunted, lawyer who lives out his proper married life in the wealthy Mission Hills suburb of Kansas City.
Mr. Bridge recognizes that his life did not begin until he knew his wife, India Bridge. His marriage is, in this sense, important to him. But he cannot articulate his deep feelings for his wife and, ultimately, gives up trying to express any emotion at all. "So the years passed, they had three children and accustomed themselves to a life together, and eventually Mr. Bridge decided that his wife should expect nothing more of him. After all, he was an attorney rather than a poet; he could never pretend to be what he was not."
Cold and emotionally repressed, Mr. Bridge spends all of his time at the office, becoming involved with his family only when necessary to ensure that proper middle class respectability is maintained. He spends his time visiting the bank, scrutinizing his stock certificates and counting his profits. Indeed, he is so focussed on wealth that he surprises his wife and children with stock certificates of Kansas City Power & Light on Christmas morning, only to take the gifts back into his possession so that he can properly manage them.
Manipulative and controlling, Mr.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By electra wilson on September 6, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It took some time for me to get to this review for a simple reason: I so tremendously enjoyed both Mrs. and then Mr.Bridge. that I wanted to make sure I said the right thing to encourage everyone to also feast on these wonderful American novels.
Both these books are so beautifully written, so carefully honed, so excellently edited and are such remarkable windows into a past generation, they cannot be dismissed for any reason.
Do not hesitate to indulge yourself.
So much can be said about the emotions stirred (from anger and sadness to outright laughter) by this upper middle class couple, so typical for their generation, it would be frivolous to try to convince with more words. There are already multiple 5-star reviews here. Believe them.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Tom Bruce on January 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
I became aware of this book while looking for something good to watch on TV and came upon the movie "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" starring Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. I watched a bit of the film, then checked the TV guide and found that it was based on the books "Mr. Bridge" and "Mrs. Bridge." The movie looked good, so I immediately turned it off while vowing to get the books then watch the film. "Mrs. Bridge" was written ten years earlier than the "Mr.," so I decided to read it first. Immediately, I became aware of the style Connell chose in writing this book. It is not a story, per se, but a series of 117 brief anecdotes - many as short as one to three paragraphs, a few three or four pages long. These tell the story of Mrs. Bridge, wife of a prominent lawyer and mother of three, who lives in a well-to-do neighborhood of Kansas City, is part of the country club social set, and spends most of her day trying to find something interesting to do in the years between the two World Wars. She has household help, so nothing to do on the homefront, except for one night a week when she has to cook dinner - usually a casserole. Her days are made up of shopping for non-essentials, like toys, which she decides you no longer play with, but operate. She has lunch in the mall with friends or alone, watches her children grow and go their own way, and sits around the home at evening listening to the radio and watching her husband read the newspaper before he goes to bed early, because of another busy day at the office tomorrow. The anecdotes are in chronological order and this is a fast and fascinating read. Mrs. Bridge feels sorry for herself, probably more than we do for her. Her life is almost expressionless. There is very little emotional connection between her, her husband, and their three children.Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Cosmoetica on October 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
Mrs. Bridge, the lead of the first book, written in 1959, is named India, and she falls in love with Walter, her husband, and they have two daughters, Ruth and Carolyn, and a son, Douglas. Walter is a lawyer and the second book, Mr. Bridge, is from his point of view, and was written in 1969. This decade difference shows. Mr. Bridge is the longer, more complex work, and while it covers many of the same incidents as Mrs. Bridge there are divergences. For instance, Mrs. Bridge focuses more heavily on the family life, and in it we witness the death of Mr. Bridge, and the ascension of Douglas to family head, just as the Second World War starts. Mr. Bridge focuses on his work, politics, and a wider range of social topics. The first book checks in at 117 chapters and 246 pages, while the second is a heftier 141 chapters and 367 pages.

That said, both are great books. Period. If you want character development, poetic moments, insight, a portrait of a certain time and place, these two books cannot be beat. The Bridges are petty, refined, bigoted, caring, aloof, devoted, rich, yet simple people. In a sense it is almost impossible to review one without the other. Significantly, both books start off with the wooing and marriage of both. It is as if the books' titles signify not only who are the main characters, but what they are. Both characters define themselves by their spouse, and, de facto, all we know, or need to know, about them revolves around their married personae. The only thing more important to the couple than each other seems to be what others think of them. In Mrs.
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