Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is really long. I don't find long books intimidating, nor do I generally get bored by them. However, this story is told mostly, although not entirely, from the perspective of Lucy Lynch, and his style is akin to that of Garrison Keillor's. It's slow moving, detailed, and not un-entertaining. However, there were times when I put the book down for days.
However, the last quarter of the book really made up for it. By the time I finished the book, I felt like crying, although I'm not sure why. I guess I felt a little bit like I was saying goodbye to some really good people.
There are a number of character juxtapositions in this book, from Lucy's own parents, to his father and Uncle Dec, to Lucy's father and Bobby's father, to Lucy and Bobby themselves.
It would be easy to paint (pun intended) Bobby as the antagonist, but he's not. He's a very complex character, and that makes him interesting. He's a very real character. You are drawn to him, even though you know he's more volatile, and less deserving of your friendship than Lucy. What's also interesting is that Bobby's not really the focal point of the book: Lucy is telling the story of his town and his life. But Bobby had such an effect on Lucy that you can't help but feel that the narrative is being pulled toward him, or by him, like the tide by the moon.
As a student of the craft of writing, I can't help but feel like I'll never be able to write a character as good as Bobby, and especially in way that makes him not quite the focal point, but somehow the crucial element in the story.
The only reason I didn't give this book five stars is because I was able to walk away from it at times. With a little bit more editing and some tightening up, it would have been a page-turner from start to finish.
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