Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo

Richard Russo is becoming one of my favorite authors. He brings to his writing the kind of compassion and understanding for humanity that I have found in George Eliot, which can be a balm in the thick of the overly cynical, clever books that keep getting churned out to no end.

His latest is the perfect book for a reader who enjoys character. It's all about character development, and little else, honestly.

Lou Charles "Lucy" Lynch has lived his whole life in Thomaston, New York. All of his memories and his identity are tied up in that town. At 60, Lou, a man who lives and breathes in reminiscence, revisits his memories of the father he adored and who adored him, Big Lou, and his mother, a woman who tempers her husband's boundless optimism with a realist's edge. And then there's Bobby Marconi, the wild boy that Lucy looked up to, whose friendship he sought at every turn. And Sarah, the woman Lucy married. These three form a classic love triangle.

What "happens" in the book is much less important than the revelations that these characters make about themselves and each other. While it is a little long in the tooth, I never wavered as a reader. Russo creates characters that you want to know, that you don't mind spending a little extra time with. This is a writer that I will follow anywhere.

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