Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bridge of Sighs; Richard Russo

Bridge of Sighs; Richard Russo
Knopf - 2007

I've been on a Richard Russo kick over the summer beginning with Nobody's Fool, then Everybody's Fooland now Bridge of Sighs (my favorite).  No one captures small town life quite like Russo.

In Bridge of Sighs we get a feel for life in the fictional town of Thomaston, NY, a factory town somewhere in upstate New York.  It's a town where for many years the local tannery routinely dumped chemicals into the nearby stream.  Now the townspeople are seeing the effects of these chemicals with and increase of cancer cases and deaths.

The story is told from the perspective of Lou C. (Lucy) Lynch, a man now in his 60's as he chronicles the life of his family, beginning with his father Big Lou, a milkman turned store owner of the local Ikey Lubins, which now Lou C and his wife Sarah have expended to several stores. We also get to know the Berg and Marconi families and how their lives connected with the Lynch family.

The story spans a period of some 50 years and is over 600 pages.  It's a family saga that is well written with wonderful and memorable characters. The story has plenty of plot points, both beautiful  moments and sometimes disturbing ones. There's racism, discrimination, domestic and emotional abuse and adultery. The issues felt real and characters felt very human. 

Despite a few uncomfortable issues touched upon, Bridge of Sighs had an overall uplifting feel about it.  It left me with a good feeling.  Be sure to try this one if you haven't already read it.

I have (3) more unread Russo novels on my shelves but, those will have to wait until 2017.

4/5 stars
(my shelves)


27 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You would enjoy it Kathy. I wonder how the audio would be?

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  2. I read this last year and it was one of my favorite reads of the year. Such great characters and storytelling.

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    1. Iliana, I agree, the characters, feel for the town and it's people - just so well done.

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  3. I'm a big fan - I thought Straight Man was very funny.

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  4. That one sounds really impressive, long but impressive!

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    1. Yes, I don't mind a long book when the story and writing are well done.

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  5. Diane, this sounds like a great story. I enjoyed your intro to this book, and your photo.

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    1. Thanks Susan, he is a talented author. I do recommend this one.

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    1. I did as well, it was ore serious that his recent book.

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  7. I really loved this one. Russo can tell a story.

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  8. I haven't read this author, seems I should by your review and the comments.

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    1. Oh you must try him. (2) of his books, Empire Falls and Nobody's Fool are movies as well.

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  9. I haven't read anything by Russo but I tend to collect his books when I find them on bargain sales. I wonder if I have this one on my shelf at home! Sounds like one I would really like.

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    1. This is one of those that would be a great book club pick. I still have a few of his earlier ones to read on my shelves.

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  10. This is one of my favorite reads. I need to read his earlier work. Happy Reading!

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  11. I tend to like books like this--long and interesting and you really feel like you are inhabiting the fictional world.

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  12. Russo really has a way of pulling you in and once finished feeling like the characters were neighbors.

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  13. I liked this book but didn't love it as much as you did. It felt overly long and the plot was clumsy in my humble opinion. But I will probably read the Fool books one day.

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    1. It was overly long but, still a good story for me.

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  14. I listened to this one some years ago when I could listen to books while I was working. I honestly can't remember a thing about it which is disappointing, especially given how much you liked it! I can only remember that I liked it enough to want to read more Russo. I need to go see if I reviewed it on the blog and find out what I thought about it!

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    1. Lisa, that happens to me frequently these days LOL

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  15. This novel covers a very important issue, water pollution. I don't know why Venice comes to mind every time I look at this book. I still love your blog. It's one of my favorites.

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