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Mrs. Bridge

By Evan S. Connell & James Salter
Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell & James Salter digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

National Book Award Finalist
The basis for Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990), starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

“A perfect novel . . . economical, piquant, beautiful, true” that chronicles the lives of a wealthy family in 1930s Kansas through the eyes of its matriarch (Meg Wolitzer, New York Times–bestselling author).

In Mrs. Bridge, Evan S. Connell, a consummate storyteller, artfully crafts a portrait using the finest of details in everyday events and confrontations. The novel is comprised of vignettes, images, fragments of conversations, events—all building powerfully toward the completed group portrait of a family, closely knit on the surface but deeply divided by loneliness, boredom, misunderstandings, isolation, sexual longing, and terminal isolation.
In this special 50th anniversary edition, we are reminded once again why Mrs. Bridge has been hailed by readers and critics alike as one of the greatest novels in American literature.

23 Reviews

“I read this for a lit class. I found this to be really boring. I wouldn’t say there’s much of a plot because the structure of the book doesn’t call for that. I’m not against not being a plot driven novel but I don’t particularly want to read about every single day of a middle (upper middle?) class white woman’s goings on. There were a couple entertaining chapters, but it wasn’t enough to have me very engaged.”
“I think I 'got' what the author was trying to do here, i.e. convey the sense of a limited and restricted suburban housewife life in the 1930s Kansas City, but it just wasn't particularly well executed. Plotwise, there is no plot. Each short chapter is a vignette and they slowly build on each other so that only in the second half of the book we build enough of a picture of Mrs Bridge that the story gets somewhat captivating. Mrs Bridge herself as a character was missing large chunks of her personality and the parts that were there were often inconsistent, in my opinion. For example, we get no sense of her history, her family background, her childhood. She just pops up ready made as a young wife and apparently has no memories that go further back than her marriage. The author went to great pains to show how naive and sheltered Mrs Bridge was, to the degree that was unrealistic (IMO) and improbable. A bored suburban housewife would have consumed trashy magazines and TV with sensationalist stories and would have been aware of things even if those things weren't spoken of in polite society. She was apparently obsessed with keeping up appearances but felt embarrassed by the lavish gifts from her husband and insisted on driving her old car? Unlikely. She was on the lookout for any improper behavior, yet she dismissed or overlooked odd behaviors by her friend's son, and even by her children. She didn't know where her oldest daughter Ruth was most of the time...? What? I think the author wanted to make Mrs Bridge look controlling but also weak, so she ended up being sometimes almost-domineering, but mostly willfully blind as a parent, which seems unlikely at that time and place. Perhaps my biggest disappointment character-wise was that Mrs Bridge seemed to have almost no inner life. As a result, she never felt like she could be a real person but more of a cardboard cut out for what a man thinks a woman might have been back then. I'm tempted to chalk this up to "men writing women badly". The ending was powerful, I'll give it that, but perhaps a little heavy-handed on the symbolism. Overall, meh.”

About Evan S. Connell

Evan S. Connell was the author of eighteen books, including Francisco Goya, Deus Lo Volt!, Mrs. Bridge, and Son of the Morning Star. He received numerous awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Pushcart Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, and an award in literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He lived and worked in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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