Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Bridge of Sighs

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Bridge of Sighs

by Richard Russo

Bridge of Sighs
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2007, 480 pages
    Sep 2008, 688 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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Beyond the Book

  • 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 ...

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