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 hes had plenty of reasons not to bechief 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 theyd known in childhood. In fact, the exact nature of their friendship is one of the many mysteries Lucy hopes to untangle in the history hes writing of his hometown and family. And with his story interspersed with that of Noonan, the native son whod 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 experiencesoften contrary, sometimes notprove 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.
First, the facts.
My name is Louis Charles Lynch. I am sixty years old, and for nearly forty of those years Ive been a devoted if not terribly exciting husband to the same lovely woman, as well as a doting father to Owen, our son, who is now himself a grown, married man. He and his wife are childless and likely, alas, to so remain. Earlier in my marriage it appeared as if wed be blessed with a daughter, but a car accident when my wife was in her fourth month caused her to miscarry. That was a long time ago, but Sarah still thinks about the child and so do I.
Perhaps whats most remarkable about my life is that Ive lived all of it in the same small town in upstate New York, a thing unheard of in this day and age. My wifes parents moved here when she was a little girl, so she has few memories before Thomaston, and her situation isnt much different from my own. Some people, upon learning how weve lived our lives, are unable to...
Bridge of Sighs is captivating for its loving attention to the town of Thomaston and the particularities of its downtrodden residents, but even the most innocuous detail maps a world much larger than Thomaston, a generous world that, by the end of the book, comes to seem so familiar, one is loathe to leave it.
(Reviewed by Amy Reading).
Full Review (1059 words).
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