Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo

Bridge of Sighs begins as a story told by one man, Lou "Lucy" Lynch. As he reaches the age of 60, Lou feels the need to tell his story, and hence the story of his town and his family, as they are all entwined. The reader follows the history that he is writing, as well as events happening in the present time. As you get further into the book, you begin hearing from Robert Noonan (or, as he is known in Lou's part of the story, Bobby Marconi). His part of the story is at first all happening in the present, where his is in Paris. But he eventually begins recounting his history as well, which juxtaposes itself against Lou's history of the town they both grew up in.
Both stories describe life in the town of Thomaston, New York, where Bobby and Lou grew up. Bobby leaves at the age of 18, never to return, while Lou lives his entire life there, never setting foot outside of the county. It is the story of high school bullies and institutionalized racism. Of the American Dream as well as the tragedy that strikes every family. It is a story about sacrifice and love and family. It is beautiful and complete in its scope, and leaves the reader feeling completely satisfied at the end.

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