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 Fool, and 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.