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One-Way Bridge: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Cathie Pelletier
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"If you liked Olive Kitteridge, you'll love The One-Way Bridge."—Lee Smith, author of The Last Girls

In her highly anticipated new novel, acclaimed literary master Cathie Pelletier returns to Mattagash, Maine, the beloved New England town where it all started.

Welcome to Mattagash, the last town in the middle of the northern Maine wilderness. The road dead-ends here, but Mattagash's citizens are fiercely proud.

Yet this simple town connected by a single one-way bridge is anything but tranquil. While neighbors bicker publicly over trivialities such as offensive mailbox designs and gossip about suspicious newcomers, they privately struggle to navigate deeper issues—scandals, loss, failed ambitions, the scars of war...and a mysterious dead body in the woods.

With her trademark wit and keen eye for detail, Pelletier has assembled an unforgettable cast of endearing and eccentric characters, from scheming mailmen and peeping toms to lovesick waitresses and loggers whose underhandedness belies their ingenuity. The citizens of Mattagash will make you laugh and cheer for them as they stumble into one another's lives and strive to define themselves in a changing world that threatens to leave them behind.

The One-Way Bridge is an extraordinary portrait of family, loneliness, and community—and the kinds of compromises we all make in the name of love.

Praise for The One-Way Bridge:

"Cathie Pelletier is one of my favorite novelists, and she's at the top of her game with The One-Way Bridge."—Wally Lamb, author of She's Come Undone

"The One-Way Bridge is the novel Cathie Pelletier fans have long awaited. Her Mattagash, Maine, is one of the most fully realized fictional locales I've ever visited, it's geography as vivid and precise as any actual place, its citizens as real and compelling as our own friends and neighbors."—Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls

"In her new book, Cathie Pelletier's brilliantly drawn, true-to-life characters break your heart and make you laugh at the same time, a rare talent indeed."—Fannie Flagg, author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The folks who live on either side of Maine’s Mattagash River are a quirky bunch, and all of them are known to Orville Craft, who, as the local letter carrier, gains unique insight into their habits and idiosyncrasies. In the waning days before his retirement, Orville becomes particularly vexed by the outlandishness of his nemesis, Harry Plunkett, whose moose-shaped mailbox is an affront to Orville’s devotion to the dignity of the U.S. Postal Service. Theirs is a venerable feud, dating back to a high-school rivalry over the affections of the girl who would become Orville’s wife, a woman who now prefers playing computer games to performing her marital duties. As Orville contemplates ways to save his marriage and plots revenge against Harry’s mail-related taunts, the other residents along his route ponder making changes to their own lives, often with devastating consequences. A one-way bridge may dissect Pelletier’s colorful community, but it also serves as a reminder that there are two sides to every story. --Carol Haggas


"Pelletier's long-awaited addition to the tragicomic annals of fictional Mattagash, Maine, [The One-Way Bridge is] a welcome return for the author." - Kirkus

"Pelletier expertly jumps about her large cast, showing their external peculiarities and revealing their inner lives piece by piece until their actions shift from strange to unavoidable... Pelletier's fans and readers fond of quirky small town tales will enjoy the ride." - Publishers Weekly

"Pelletier writes about each of the characters' lives with a mixture of humor and gravity." - Bangor Daily News

"I loved [The One-Way Bridge]...[Pelletier's] characters, with all of their flaws and synchronicities, are all believable and lovable. I've looked forward to a new book by Cathie for some time and she hasn't disappointed with this one. " - Susan Porter, Maine Coast Book Shop

"Cathie does a wonderful job of capturing [her characters'] moods and loves and losses, and yearnings...Her writing is lovely and so descriptive" - Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books

"The author has a lyrical, almost musical way of describing things at times which is entirely enjoyable and a great credit to her writing ability. The descriptions were so rich and detailed, but not unnecessarily so that it was easy to picture each and everything described within." - Novels Escape

"The novel is quirky and delightfully eccentric with some truly comedic moments. " - BookN Around

"It's hilarious. If you go to Maine, you'll love it." - Danvers reads

"What really stood out in this story for me were the characters. They literally jump off the page. You feel like you know these people. Sharing their joyful moments, sometimes painful memories, their dreams, expectations, losses... This was the first novel I've read by Cathie Pelletier but it certainly won't be my last." - My Real Life Reviews

This particular tale of two men coming to loggerheads on a one-way bridge isn't peculiar; it hums softly with authenticity and sincerity.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1955 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1402287615
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (May 7, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BFI1Y4W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,613 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
THE ONE-WAY BRIDGE is Cathie Pellletier's first novel in six years. Fans have been eagerly waiting for this new addition to the literary mélange of summer books. The One-Way Bridge is in Mattagash, Maine, and is the only way into and out of town. Over the years, an informal rule evolved that the one on the bridge or the one arriving at the bridge has the right of way.

Mattagash is an insular town at the northernmost piece of land in Maine. It is populated by the usual eccentrics and has its share of ridiculous feuds. Five residents of this town emerge as main characters, and readers will have a good time ferreting them out. The storyline is not linear; it is told by an omniscient narrator who is entirely believable despite the fact that s/he jumps around in telling all of the events that take place in Mattagash.

As the book opens, Billy Thunder is next to his mailbox. He is waiting for a small package sent to him from his cronies downstate. He confronts the mailman, Orville Craft, who is not delivering the mail as fast as Billy thinks he should. They have a small argument over this, which ends quickly.The box Billy is waiting for is full of phony Viagra tablets. The women in town are his biggest customers.

As the narrative unfolds, readers are led into the town's secrets, lies and suspicions. It seems that everyone talks to everyone else, but hidden agendas are woven through every relationship. For example: Billy "knew ears grew on trees in Mattagash, and even moles have twenty-twenty vision." He and others are very aware of who they talk to and where. They are even conscious of who they are seen with. They are suspicious of strangers and newcomers.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I realistic cast of characters May 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the first novel I have read written by Cathie Pelletier.

The book is about a group of people who live in a small town in northern Maine. And don't picture coastal Maine with lobsters and sailing boats, this is the Maine where you get moose and trees.

The book actually kind of depressed me in the beginning. It was sad, but an honest look into many peoples lives. But from there you grew to know the characters and understand their problems. You root for them to see the best in others and themselves. This book really made me take a look into my own life and think about how I treat others and myself.

The book ties up nicely and is well done.

The only thing I thought was done a little overboard was the war stories. I don't have a problem with them being in the book, many soldiers live with PTSD and that is understandable, but at points the storyline seemed to drag because of the flashbacks.

Overall I recommend this book.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Little, Too Much June 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having lived in Maine all my life, I enjoyed the references to familiar places and personalities. However, the many subplots are so buried in redundant detail that they are difficult to follow. Pelletier seems much more interested in showing her familiarity with the locale than creating a readable narrative. Each member of the community she invents is a one-dimensional caricature of northern Mainers. In the post-script, she talks about her reluctance to create the character who had fought in the Vietnam War. To me that inclusion seemed forced and out of place in an otherwise pretty light-hearted story. True to the rest of the narrative, she focused on accurate detail of essentially irrelevant information. I felt that she spent way too much time setting the stage for a bunch of characters and events that never quite materialized.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story June 20, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love Cathie Pelletier's books and have been waiting for a new one for a long time. I wasn't disappointed. A great story, written in her style which appeals to me significantly. The personalities of the characters in this book are warm and real for me. Enjoy!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pure delight from start to finish. June 16, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Cathie Pelletier is a master storyteller. From the first page, she lifted me out of the Deep South and plunked me down in the middle of Mattagash, Maine. And I felt right at home. I wanted to suggest to Edna that we take art lessons together; I wanted to catch Florence putting out the latest word with its definition; I wanted to sit and have coffee with the gang at Blanche's; I wanted to put a "Thinking of you" note in Harry's moose mailbox during the worst of his nightmares from war time spent in the jungles of Vietnam; I wanted to yank Meg away from the computer and tell her to please put on her apron for Orville. As for Billy, oh how I wanted to roar down the road in his Mustang, freezing my tail off but warm in my heart because Bullet was sitting between us, his ears flapping in the wind and a happy grin on his face. This is a book I will read again, just like I did the other "Mattagash" books. And again, I won't want it to end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As always, Cathie Pelletier once again wrote a novel that is so down to earth and certainly speaks of my native Aroostook County, Maine. I suppose being a native of Maine, I understand so well the characters in this story. She just brings the characters alive and you learn to love each one of them no matter whether they are a good person or a slightly bad person. Each and every character has a distinct personality that can be appreciated. I can only hope that she will continue to write about the Northern Maine wilderness with all of the eccentricities of the people who dwell in that part of the county.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Talented Maine author. You feel as if you get to know each of her characters personally. Really interesting stories and so human!
Published 4 days ago by Sue Sage
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, loved it
Loved it, loved it! Been a fan of Pelletier's since The Funeral Makers. Always looking forward to her books. Once you start reading you can't put the book down. Humor and pathos. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Mary C. Campbell
4.0 out of 5 stars but the humor was a nice change after some of the more emotional books...
Read this for my book group, we haven't discussed it yet. It was silly sometimes, but the humor was a nice change after some of the more emotional books we have read lately.
Published 28 days ago by chuck mccall
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
typical Maine, small town!
Published 2 months ago by marryann stevens
4.0 out of 5 stars Battlefields Near & Far
The whole was greater than the sum of its parts. One saw "unappealing" people through God's eyes and loved them all in spite of themselves. They are us.
Published 2 months ago by Michaeline Barnhart
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This was the cutest story of small town life and those who live there.
Published 2 months ago by tam
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good.
I originally downloaded this book for my mother, but she was unable to read it due to health reasons. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jeff
3.0 out of 5 stars In her previous books I remember the characters being better developed...
This was the first book of hers I had read in quite a few years. In her previous books I remember the characters being better developed and having more personality. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Yancy Cook
4.0 out of 5 stars one--Way Bridge Review
An interesting story with engaging characters. I would not recommend this for anyone who was not alive and aware during the sixties and seventies -- there is just too much nuance... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dennis R. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 6 months ago by Medi Sella
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