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The Bridge Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st edition (October 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060186305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060186302
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,876,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although admirably ambitious and sporadically engaging, this altogether disjointed and overstuffed (not to mention disappointingly self-conscious and contrived) roman ? clef marks the fiction debut of a gifted and perceptive artist, widely acclaimed as a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and for the homespun philosophies and humorous insights of his syndicated comic strip, Kudzu. Unblushingly autobiographical, the novel follows the self-destructive adventures of Pick Cantrell, an "enfant terrible" editorial cartoonist who has risen to eminence at the Sun, a Long Island daily newspaper that purports to represent the cutting edge of urban sophistication. When he attacks his publisher after he is fired over a controversial, unflattering cartoon of the pope, Cantrell buys a rundown old mansion and with his beautiful cinematographer wife, Cam, and young son, Wiley retreats to his ancestral roots near Chapel Hill, N.C., to lick his wounds. While he begins the restoration of the historic manor house, Cam resumes her career and becomes the breadwinner. On his home turf, Cantrell is thrown back into conflict with his ogreish paternal grandmother, Mama Lucy, and the pulpy tale bounces between Pick's first-person narration of his domestic struggles (Cam is resentful of his granny and practically everything else), and Mama Lucy's third-person recollections of the bloody cotton mill strikes of 1934. Pick and Cam's conflicts are pure soap opera, and Pick's antipathy for Mama Lucy is too petty to generate real empathy, but the intriguing peeks into history are well worth suffering for. 7-city author tour. (Oct.) Forecast: Advance hype and an impressive roster of blurbers Pat Conroy, Anne Rivers Siddons, Rick Bragg, Joe Klein and Kaye Gibbons, among others should move this title. Aimed point-blank at Conroy readers, it even sports jacket art by Conroy's cover artist, Wendell Minor.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Fired from his job as political cartoonist for the New York Sun, Pick Cantrell returns, with dread in his heart, to his North Carolina roots to take the barbs of his typically Southern family for being uppity and leaving home in the first place. Chief among his critics is his paternal grandmother, Mama Lucy, whose vitriolic tongue has shaped the lives of her progeny for as long as Pick can remember. Although he falls victim to her indictments, he eventually makes his peace and learns of her colorful past in the bargain. A Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist and creator of the comic strip KUDZU, Marlette has written a first novel based on tidbits of family lore, primarily concerning his grandmother Gracie Pickard, whose involvement in the bloody Great Textile Strike of 1934 inspired his portrait of Mama Lucy. This work of oppression, rebellion, family tradition, love, and death sheds light on a little-known chapter of North Carolina history and contains just the right mix of humor and dignity. Recommended for all public libraries. Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ., Carbondale Lib.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this novel and look forward to another book by Doug Marlette!!
A. Parks
Marlette's characters are all unique and strong and realistic and the stories of everyone are all woven together wonderfully.
Renee E. DesRosiers
Check it out - it's a great book for a man or woman and one of those hard to put down books you'll not want to see end.
L. V. Epps

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Terry Mathews on November 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is not an easy book to read if you come from a family who (1) keeps secrets (2) has interesting members or (3) lived through some turbulent times. Time and time again I found myself listening the Marlette's characters say the EXACT SAME things my grandmother/mother/cousins said to me and to each other. Situations in the book strangely resemble situations in my family....and reading about them in a published novel made me a bit uneasy.
I loved the way Marlette intertwined the present with the past. In the present, Marlette tells the story of Pick Cantrell, who moves home from New York City and struggles to put his life back together. Waiting to collide with Pick's story is that of his prickly grandmother "Mama Lucy." Seems she has quite a story of her own to tell. Until the ghosts of Pick's present and Mama Lucy's past are put to rest, nothing will be settled in either of their lives. Watching the two storylines converge was a pleasure.
This book is a strong testimony for anyone who has struggled with their family tree, burned/destroyed bridges and would like to re-build them.
This may be Marlette's first turn at fiction, but, to me, THE BRIDGE is in the same league with the likes of THE PRINCE OF TIDES.
Enjoy!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mark De Castrique on November 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
One of the main things I look for in a novel is the "voice" that propels and pervades the storytelling. Marlette's The Bridge matches character and voice perfectly. Main character and narrator Pick Cantrell looks at the world through the eye of a cartoonist, but this rich novel is far from being a cartoon. In the contemporary settings, Pick "picks" his images of the people around him. We see them focused through his "lens." Through this narrative device, we become involved with well-developed characters who happen to have a cartoonist's microscope run over their quirks, making them all the more fascinating. This extra-dimension to the writing is true to Pick's own character voice and a tribute to Marlette's skill as a creative artist. Not only is the whole scope of the story adroitly presented, but his sentences are just loaded with little "cartoonist concepts" that make me laugh out loud. Pick's reference to his family reunion as a "coagulation" is a brilliant image of bloodlines clotting around the picnic table. Everyone who has ever been to a family reunion knows exactly what he means.
But, this novel is not simply Pick Cantrell's story and voice. There lies within it a greater gift of truth: giving "voice" to the "voiceless." The mill workers of this country whose struggle was all but lost to history's emphasis on the New Deal and the rise of fascist Germany also have a story to tell. That voice is embodied in Mama Lucy, and Marlette has created a bridge back to a forgotten past that touches us all. It is The Bridge which I hope many, many readers will cross.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Renee E. DesRosiers on January 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a first book and it is phenomenal. Reminded me of the power of the writing of John Irving.....I haven't cried while reading a book since his "Cider House Rules". It's powerful writing that can make you do that. Marlette's characters are all unique and strong and realistic and the stories of everyone are all woven together wonderfully. Plus you learn the history of our country's Southern mills and the union which had to break the terrible working conditions in the 30's. Excellent read....I'm the type that reads so much non-fiction, that it is a rare novel that can hold my interest. This one is unique.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Mark Ethridge on November 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
For most people, one great talent would be enough
For Doug Marlette, it's just a starting point.
Doug Marlette is a Pulitzer-Prize winning editorial cartoonist. And he may be even better known as the author of Kudzu, the comic strip that appears daily in dozens of newspapers.
But if his first novel, The Bridge, is any indication, Marlette's greatest talent may be as a novelist.
This is a book you can't put down, a book that leaves you torn between savoring every page and hurrying through to get to the outcome.
The Bridge is a semi-autobigraphical tale that features a gripping story of conflict and violence in North Carolina's not-too-distant textile past. But just as importantly, it is a story of self-discovery and reconciliation. It is a story about people for whom you come to care deeply.
I wept for the last 50 pages.
Some books are great reads. A few books are not only great reads but they also make you think about how you live your life. The Bridge is such a book.
The novelist Pat Conroy says on the jacket cover that The Bridge is the best first novel to come out of North Carolina since Look Homeward Angel.
Pat Controy was right.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By kathy moore on October 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It doesn't always take a terrorist attack to change a life. Mine was changed before our national tragedy in a way I never expected by a book called "The Bridge." I don't know how or when it happened, but somewhere in Doug Marlette's valentine to family and the South, I was changed. Somehow his childhood was my childhood and his family became mine and the emotions and feelings and sensations of life and love and transitions became too much. I put down the book and began rebuilding the broken bridge with my own distant, disengaged family. "The Bridge" tells tales of family secrets--hidden in attics and covered with cobwebs. It explores the differences of poor and the privileged, the talented and the not, the North and the South, the seemingly lucky ones who escaped their beginnings and their cousins who did not. It's a study of coming home and of jealousy, prejudice, courage and the trials of humanity. It helped me understand myself and people I've misunderstood for years. The book also tells the true but mostly unreported story of a horrible and hearbreaking textile war in our country and the heroics of the worker struggles Norma Rae would covet. Beyond all that, it's intriguing to read "The Bridge" to watch a talented cartoonist twist his already twisted mind to become a novelist. How does a guy who has drawn wonderful squiggley cartoons and comic strips and exploited the power of the picture and the punchline for his whole life create something that's only words? Well, he paints word pictures, and he does it in a way that is beautiful and moving. "The Bridge" touched those painful parts of my heart and soul that were aching without my knowing. The book made me feel more human. Now, almost over the coma I've been in since September 11, I'm going to read the book again. I'll start right after I phone home.
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