Bridge of Sighs by Richard RussoBridge of Sighs courses with small-town rhythms and the claims of family. Here is a town, as well as a world, defined by magnificent and nearly devastating contradictions.
Louis Charles (“Lucy”) Lynch has spent all his sixty years in upstate Thomaston, New York, married to the same woman, Sarah, for forty of them, their son now a grown man. Like his late, beloved father, Lucy is an optimist, though he’s had plenty of reasons not to be—chief among them his mother, still indomitably alive. Yet it was her shrewdness, combined with that Lynch optimism, that had propelled them years ago to the right side of the tracks and created an “empire” of convenience stores about to be passed on to the next generation.
Lucy and Sarah are also preparing for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy, where his oldest friend, a renowned painter, has exiled himself far from anything they’d known in childhood. In fact, the exact nature of their friendship is one of the many mysteries Lucy hopes to untangle in the “history” he’s writing of his hometown and family. And with his story interspersed with that of Noonan, the native son who’d fled so long ago, the destinies building up around both of them (and Sarah, too) are relentless, constantly surprising, and utterly revealing.
Bridge of Sighs is classic Russo, coursing with small-town rhythms and the claims of family, yet it is brilliantly enlarged by an expatriate whose motivations and experiences—often contrary, sometimes not—prove every bit as mesmerizing as they resonate through these richly different lives. Here is a town, as well as a world, defined by magnificent and nearly devastating contradictions.
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Bridge of Sighs is a novel written by Richard Russo. For the Bridge of Sighs as in the actual bridge, click on the hyperlink. The novel is set in small, fictional town in upstate New York called Thomaston. Like Empire Falls, the town is quickly deteriorating. The story is about Louis Charles "Lucy" Lynch, his family, his wife, and his best friend. Sixty-year-old Lou Lynch has cheerfully spent his entire life in Thomaston, New York, married to the same woman, Sarah. He is the proprietor of three convenience stores.
Critics who urge the innate superiority of the modern American novel to our rank home-grown epigons usually stake their claims on what might be called the "wide open spaces" argument. Those bleak Montana foothills, those wide Wyoming horizons, those brisk Appalachian dawns: geographical compass alone sometimes seems to give the likes of Annie Proulx and Cormac McCarthy their sheen; the inhabitant of Chertsey or Ongar can't really compete. Curiously, while Bridge of Sighs adds ballast to the superiority-of-the-modern-American-novel argument, it does so by using entirely the wrong materials and framing its picture of recent transatlantic life on the tiniest of canvases. The art metaphor is, for once, appropriate. Two of Russo's principal characters are artists, one a freewheeling titan of the international gallery scene, the other a talented backwoods stay-at-home; one of the titan's paintings edges the novel towards a denouement that one of the stay-at-home's drawings has set in train four decades earlier. All this might make the , or so carefully wrought words that precede it sound like an exercise in the higher aesthetic sensibility. In fact, most of the action is distinctly downbeat and set in the yet more downbeat environment of early s Thomaston in upstate New York, a middling, pork-chop-and-beans kind of place with rigid demarcations of class, race and locale, a toxic tannery quietly inflating the death-rate and a whole range of secrets and obfuscations ripe to cover practically any relationship in a fog of debilitating tension.
Set in in a small, unnamed Eastern European country devastated by WWII and still occupied by Russian troops, Steinhauer's promising debut introduces year-old homicide inspector Emil Brod of the People's Militia. Brod's police academy training has prepared him for neither the rude reception he receives from his homicide comrades nor the difficult and risky assignment handed him as his initiation.
letting go of friends who don t reciprocate