By Evan S. Connell
(Counterpoint, Paperback, 9781593760595, 256pp.)
Publication Date: January 2005
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Best-selling author Evan S. Connell is expert at sketching the banalities and trivialities of middle-class values, customs, and habits. Like Mr. Bridge, its counterpart, Mrs. Bridge is comprised of over one hundred titled chapters, containing vignettes, an image, a fragment of conversation, an eventall building powerfully toward the completed group portrait of a family, closely knit on the surface but deeply divided beneath by loneliness, boredom, misunderstandings, isolation, sexual longing, and terminal alienation. With a surgeon’s skill Connell cuts away the middle-class security blanket of uniformity to expose the arrested development beneath. Mrs. Bridge recedes more and more into doubt and confusion as her three children and husband become more remote and silent. The raised evening newspaper becomes almost a fire screen to deflect any possible spark of conversation. A fly caught unawares in amber for eternity is no more immobilized and exposed than Mrs. Bridge, trapped in her garage as her novel ends.
Best-selling mystery novelist James Patterson may be known for his thrillers, but the little book that profoundly influenced his writing was far less conspicuous. Mrs. Bridge, the tale of a Kansas City husband and wife, would stay with him forever. More at NPR.org
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