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"Bridge of Sighs," from the beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Empire Falls," is a moving novel about small-town America that expands Russo's widely heralded achievement in ways both familiar and astonishing.
Bridge of Sighs
In top form, Russo returns with his sixth novel, another
poignant and illuminating chronicle of small-town culture. Focusing on a group of close friends from Thomaston, New York, the novel spans five decades and is narrated by each of the main characters. Louis Charles Lynch, a Thomaston resident all his life, has been married to Sarah for 40 years, and together, they're reaping the benefits of his family's considerable fortune, which was acquired through a chain of convenience stores. Hoping to travel to Venice for a vacation, Lynch tries unsuccessfully to contact his old friend (and Sarah's former flame) Bobby Marconi, a famous painter who lives in Italy. Marconi is leading the quintessential painter's life overseaspursuing women, brawling with men and suffering for his art, all while teetering on the brink of 60. Russo skillfully develops the separate yet intertwined stories of these characters, allowing their recollections of life in Thomaston to overlap and enhance each other. The narrative is peppered with everyday dramasfamily conflicts, financial strugglesall richly developed and convincingly portrayed. A melancholy reminder that small towns may one day be obsolete, the story of Lynch and his cohorts can be read as Russo's homage to a way of life that's quickly passing. Fans will be more than satisfied with his latest take on middle-class America.
A reading group guide is available in print and online at readinggroupcenter.com.