Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Bridge of Sighs

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Bridge of Sighs

by Richard Russo

Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo X
Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2007, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2008, 688 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

  • Louis Menand in the New Yorker points out that Bridge of Sighs is structured like Joyce's Ulysses. Lucy Lynch is Leopold Bloom's counterpart, "canny and naïve in equal parts, a plodder and a dreamer." Sarah resembles Molly Bloom, "the clever and worldly wife" who outstrips her husband. Noonan is like Stephen Dedalus, "the angry boy who flies by the nets, going into exile and becoming an artist." Thomaston, then, is Russo's Dublin, as if he is elevating the blighted American small town as a subject worthy of highbrow literature.

  • Richard Russo grew up in Gloversville, a factory town in upstate New York whose tannery made gloves (of course) from the nineteenth century until the middle of the twentieth century when production moved overseas. Russo has made a distinguished literary career from his depictions of such towns, stemming from his personal experience. Though the struggles that each town faces are different—academic foibles in a college town in Pennsylvania in Straight Man, the inexorable decline of the family who owns the failing logging and textile mills in the Maine village of Empire Falls, the closing of the tannery and its continued pollution of the local river in Bridge of Sighs—Russo has said, "Really, what I am writing about in all of these is, class and work."

  • Russo's writing regimen is similarly rooted in the notion of home and place. In an extensive interview at identitytheory.com following the publication of The Whore's Child and Other Stories (2002) he explains, "I can write on the road, but I can't draft a novel on the road. I could revise a novel on the road. I can write screen work, essays, I can write introductions. Non-fiction is easy to write on the road, on rare occasions when I do that. I can do all those kinds of things but there is something different about drafting a novel that requires me to work at the same time each day. I need to work in the morning, every morning, 6 or 7 days a week. I need that kind of routine to slip back into. I need to pick up right where I left off. I hate to miss a day. I need reliable blocks of time."

More about Russo including excerpts and reviews from The Whore's Child, Empire Falls and Bridge of Sighs at BookBrowse.

This article was originally published in November 2007, and has been updated for the September 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Word Is Murder
    The Word Is Murder
    by Anthony Horowitz
    A wealthy widow enters a London funeral home to make arrangements for her own funeral. Six hours ...
  • Book Jacket: Call Me American
    Call Me American
    by Abdi Nor Iftin
    As a boy growing up in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, Abdi Nor Iftin loved watching action ...
  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...
  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family caught between present and past.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Place for Us
    by Fatima Farheen Mirza

    A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If You See Me, Don't Say Hi

If You See Me, Don't Say Hi by Neel Patel

Patel's stories introduce a bold and timely new literary voice.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A P Saved I A P E

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.