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Mr. Bridge: A Novel Paperback – January 13, 2005
Pierced by the Sun
A gripping tale of murder and redemption by the author of Like Water for Chocolate. Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
But trying to summarize "Mrs. Bridge" cannot evoke the brilliance and heartbreak of this novel. Evan Connell understands his characters so well that he simply lets them be, allows them to breathe. "Simply" is the wrong word; few writers are gifted enough to pull off an essentially plotless novel. But "Mrs. Bridge" is never boring.
Incidentally, another reviewer writes about wanting to smack Mrs. Bridge's face. Such a reaction is the exact opposite of mine. Yes, she is guilty of class and racial prejudices; yes, she is repressed. All those with no sins cast the first stone, or smack, and get on with your righteous lives. For the rest of us, it's hard not to sympathize with a woman who struggles all her life to do the right thing, despite having a vague sense that she has never learned the right thing. She longs for something else, something more, but she is barely aware of the longing.
Some day this book will achieve its rightful place as a masterpiece of American realist fiction. But you should read it before that.
I'll be brief: others have said plenty. Just one quick remark: Connell is a stylist of the highest order. His prose is crisp; style matches subject matter. Example: "It was necessary to be careful among people you did not know." Every sentence is carefully crafted to the point where grammar itself becomes a web of cleanliness, clear and transparent. It may seem nothing special, but Connell is a craftsman. All the more striking, both in grammar and in plot, are the few moments, aporia, where something else could have happened--such as when Mr. Bridge is breathlessly studying, in Paris, "a black lace brassiere with the tips cut off," a moment Mrs. Bridge returns to later with vague uneasiness.
I am glad I was recently introduced to Connell's work. It is a treasure trove, and it's a pity so few of his works are still in print. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some more of his novels to read: Deus Lo Volt! is next.
Ostensibly the story of a marriage, Mr. Bridge is noticeably absent from much of the narrative. A successful lawyer, he is a man who is unable to express love or affection for his wife or his children, a man who is focussed on becoming "rich and successful," the epitome of the status-conscious husband and father whose identity lies in material possessions. "The family saw very little of him. It was not unusual for an entire week to pass without any of the children seeing him. On Sunday morning they would come downstairs and he . . . greeted them pleasantly and they responded deferentially, and a little wistfully because they missed him. Sensing this, he would redouble his efforts at the office in order to give them everything they wanted."
Mrs.Read more ›
The novel spans about 25 years of India Bridge's life, from the time she gets married at age 26 (narrowly escaping, one senses, spinsterhood) to the time her youngest child is going off to war. It is set in an affluent section of Kansas City during the Twenties and Thirties. Mr. and Mrs. Bridge are thoroughly imbued with Midwestern Republican values, as are most of the secondary characters, their friends and neighbors. There are a few genuine eccentrics, but no one is particularly notable, much less admirable or heroic.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Masterful. So glad I read this on the recommendation of my son. Written in the late 1950s (published in 1959), it purports to reflect America of the late 30s/early 40s, but... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Neil Silver
A coworker enthusing about Australia and urging us to visit there said, “They’re like America was in the 1950s. Read morePublished 28 days ago by David Curry
This book is a surprisingly satisfying read, because it can't really be said to have a plot. In fact, it is more like a series of vignettes in the life of a family, told from the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Marie in Maryland
A little disappointed. Not enough story line and left me with many questions. A bit flat.Published 4 months ago by lglg82822
Not sure to describe my feelings about it. Interesting on many levels. Stiffling way to live.Published 4 months ago by Sigrid