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The Invisible Bridge

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  28,693 ratings  ·  3,612 reviews
A grand love story and an epic tale of three brothers whose lives are torn apart by war.

Paris, 1937. Andras Lévi, a Hungarian Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver to C. Morgenstern on the rue de Sévigné. As he becomes involved with the letter’s recipient, his elder broth
Published May 4th 2010 by Random House Audio (first published 2010)
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Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Best Historical Fiction
284th out of 4,839 books — 18,895 voters
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg LarssonRoom by Emma DonoghueThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootOne Day by David NichollsFreedom by Jonathan Franzen
New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2010
12th out of 100 books — 636 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I have a theory about why some people love this book and others, myself included, struggled to slog through it. First, I think it depends on your personal tolerance for sentimentality. Given that the first half of the book is a love story base on Love with a capital L, which itself is based on beauty, magical first glances, a forbidden element, and an ever mysterious woman, you'd better be content with a sentimentality meter reading that's over the moon. I have a number of reader-friends who wou ...more
Carlin Hauck
I'm trying to remember if a book has ever made me cry this hard. The Book Thief, maybe.

As I assured my little brother when he crawled out of bed to make sure I was okay, I wouldn't be so upset if I didn't like the book. I only cry for characters that I love. My dog, who actually came to my aid before my brother, didn't seem to care what I was reading. He just climbed up onto my bed and snuggled up next to me and licked my tears away.

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer begins in 1937 with 22-y
I will just copy my FBC Review here:


As I mentioned in a recent review, sometimes books come out of nowhere, hijack my reading schedule and it takes a while until I can un-weave the magical spell they had exerted on me and leave their universe, usually needing at least one complete reread as well as an immediate review.

The novelistic debut of the author, The Invisible Bridge attracted my attention by its fascinating cover in a Borders bookstore several days ago and the blurb below mad
Dec 19, 2010 K rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to K by: Amazon best books of 2010
The Twelve Days of Reading The Invisible Bridge: A Novel

On the first day of reading this, the thought occurred to me...

It starts off engagingly.

On the second day of reading this, the thought occurred to me...

Mary Sue personas
But it starts off engagingly.

On the third day of reading this, the thought occurred to me...

Unrealistic plot twists
Mary Sue personas
But it starts off engagingly.

On the fourth day of reading this, the thought occurred to me...

Way anachronistic
Unrealistic plot twists
Mary Sue p
4 and 1/2 stars

This is an old-fashioned novel, even an epic, in the tradition of "War and Peace": great storytelling (set in a tumultuous time), developed characters and good writing. It's obvious that Orringer did a lot of research and the time period and the places are alive with details that fill all the senses. I found it hard to ever put the book down.

The writing is elegant: "... two tiny rabbits browsed the clover. The first light of day came through the delicate endive leaves of their ea
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tea Jovanović
Super knjiga! Mnogo je volim... Četiri godine sam pokušavala da joj nađem dom u Srbiji... Najpre uzme jedan urednik... napusti izdavača, izdavač otkaže prava... Ubedim drugog, pošalje ponudu, odobre mu prava, dođe mu novi urednik i otkaže prava... Ubedim trećeg, njemu počnu da traže sumanute pare za prava, on odustane... I na kraju, kad sam počela da gubim nadu, uzme je Alnari...
Nov 12, 2010 j rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my mom, holocaust movie enthusiast
Shelves: 2010, audiobooks, wwii
You know how those Holocaust movies come out every few years, and they are very serious-minded, and everyone gives them awards because, let's face it, it's pretty easy to make a compelling movie when you've got a story with this kind of dramatic weight to tell, but sometimes, if you're being honest, you think "oh man, not another one," which is horrible, because these stories were based on things that really happened, terrible things, and am I an asshole for thinking that I just can't sit throug ...more

I absolutely LOVE this book! Put it at the top of your pile of books to read. Order it at the library NOW or buy it. You will not regret this purchase! Me, I wish I had bought a prettier edition. This book never lags and it is 600pages long. Lots happens, the plot is chock full with this and that. Me, I don't usually go for plot driven books, but this book has everything. History is so wonderfully interwoven into the primary characters' lives that the history book facts take on a pers
Miss GP
This book was recommended to me by a fellow Hungarian and friend of my mother's, and at first I was a bit disappointed by it. It was rapidly falling into the category of chick-lit for me -- lots of relationship buildup, budding romance, young handsome talented man, mysterious woman, etc., light on the "historical." At one point I feared it was devolving into melodrama. At about the halfway point of the novel, though, the tone shifted, and it became a much better book with real depth. I've read a ...more
Karen Mundo
There are some books that you read and forget about. I enjoy reading author Janet Evanovich for one and have read every new Stephanie Plum but can't recall the plot a week later. Then there are some, like The Invisible Bridge, that linger and linger.

IMHO, the book makes me think about "what if everything were to suddenly change?" What if I were ripped from my comfortable, everyday life and put into a situation of escalating deprivation? What if I were a Hungarian Jew in 1944/45?

How could I maint
Krok Zero
Aug 12, 2010 Krok Zero rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Folks whose favorite beer is Mittelbräu
Shelves: summer-2010
Romance! Persecution! War! Tragedy! More romance! Bloated length in surplus of 500 pages!

The Invisible Bridge is a WWII epic like every other WWII epic you've ever encountered, the kind of big-ass tale that David Lean or Anthony Minghella would've loved to get their cinematic mitts on—Dr. Zhivago as imagined by a hip Brooklyn cutie. Reviews have been hyperbolically ecstatic, but why? I guess there's stuff to admire here: the heavy-duty plotting is assured and largely engaging, and there's enough
Jun 18, 2011 Merry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Merry by: Lee Aiken - gave me the book :)
This is it! The book you want to read if you are one who steers clear of that horrific time in history, where millions of men, women, and children were brutalized, tortured and marched to their deaths because they were Jewish.

I understand what happened and I don't want to read any more details of the insane treatment of these human beings as I find it so painful. Therefore I shy away from the subject, but this book was mostly a joy to read. My compliments to the author, Julie Orringer, who can
Feb 20, 2012 Daisy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Daisy by: LA Times, Chrissie
While I was reading this, I never once thought ahead to what I'd read next, so engrossing was this novel. It's so readable and enlightening and luxurious and terrifying. Now that I'm finished, I feel kind of lost. (What do I read now? What should follow this?)

At first I thought this was almost too good because it was so pleasurable. But then in the second half of the book (the first takes place in Paris, the second in Hungary), you think back to the characters you met at the beginning, who and w
I was 300 pages into this book, when I realized the four Jewish young men were still in Paris, nothing of significance was happening, and the war had not yet begun. I was so bored at this point that I found myself anxiously awaiting the Holocaust. I am totally missing something in this book. It is a standard, predictable Holocaust story, that manages to make even World War II look dull. I guess I dont find any of the characters more than cardboard, and the central love story unconvincing, and (d ...more
Julie Orringer immediately captivated me with her storytelling. Although I have been well acquainted with facts of the Holocaust and WW II, she introduced features about Hungary's involvement during the period which were new knowledge for me. Her narrative in this sweeping account brought compelling and effecting aspects throughout the novel. One could easily visualize how life was lived prior to the war, as well as the brutality and suffering during the wartime.

Orringer's characters seemed rea
Excellent for my first read of the year. An epic story of WWII, building on the coming of age tale of a young Hungarian man about to travel to Paris to begin his studies to become an architect. The year is 1937. He is Jewish. So much is about to happen, is actually in the initial stages of development throughout Europe. These changes will alter history for this student, Andras, his family, his friends, his nation, and ultimately much of the world. Orringer provides a wonderfully full story, rich ...more
The Invisible Bridge is a long book (around 750 pages) and it FEELS like a long book, but that's not a criticism. What sets this book apart in a relatively common genre (historical fiction set during the Holocaust) is incredible detail and development. The author spends hundreds and hundreds of pages delving into the almost daily lives of the protagonist and his friends and family before the war, allowing the reader to know the characters so well that it would be difficult to maintain any sort o ...more
Disappointing and painfully long.

Let me start by saying that I have no doubt that Julie Orringer's grandparents went through the ultimate hell in WWII and that their stories are probably fascinating. The problem is that their story deserved to be told by someone who will not write it as a smaltzy, humorless, endless slog.

I have a real problem when character's are so in love or have such bond that they never seriously argue and they read each other's minds as if this proves that theirs is the gre
Jennifer Hu
I'm a book snob. This fulfills my endless craving for beautiful prose and the kind of original romance that offers a much-needed respite from irony, self-deprecation, i.e. shelves of typical American workshop fare. Yes, she did graduate from Iowa Writer's workshop,taught at Stanford, but the novel gave me the feeling of European writing without having to endure some of the more intolerable self-indulgences and idiosyncrasies of that category. I enjoyed Invisible Bridge as much as Hemon's The Que ...more
Genia Lukin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa Vegan
Mar 04, 2012 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: highly to readers of historical fiction, Holocaust related books, architects & physicians
4 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of reading the book but I’m balking at writing this review; although I do think perhaps I wrote more status updates for this book than I have for any other book. I was very lucky to read this book as a buddy read with Goodreads’ friend Diane, as well as for my book club (thanks to them for accepting my recommendation so I finally got to this) and as a bonus my friend’s partner is Hungarian and he was able to give some extra understanding and informatio
Wow, was this surprisingly bad. I picked it up because it was on the New York Times' notable list for 2010. It is one of the dullest, longest books I've ever read. I finished it, but for many, many pages in the beginning, middle, and end, I was just skimming. At first, because the language and story are so boring, so lacking in humor or originality, so slow, I assumed it must have been written by a spinster old lady. So, about 20% in (and for a 600 page novel, it took an interminably long time t ...more
Jun 23, 2010 Liz rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Agnes
A review of this book (NY Times?) noted that it's an exception to the frequent European critique of American literature for being self-absorbed and inward-looking. While reading, I was impressed by the level of detail in language, geography, the study of architecture, military practices, all in Central and Western Europe 60-70 years ago. Ultimately the reader learns that the book draws (even in a character's name) from the experiences of the author's family. Still, the novel reflects a lot of me ...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Julie Orringer amassed extensive, detailed research of her subject matter of this novel of two Jewish Hungarian families caught in the bitter struggles of war and Nazi aggression. Her depiction of the labor camps and the atrocities of the Holocaust are visceral and unforgettable, and I applaud her theme and scope of the story. However, I am reviewing this as a novel, not an historical text. As a novel, it did not succeed for me.

The hero of the story, Andras Levi, is beyond reproach. He reminds m
This book really grew on me. The Invisible Bridge is a big old fashioned novel which follows three young Hungarian Jewish brothers through the years leading up to World War II and the war years themselves. The leading character is the middle brother Andras who wins a scholarship to study architecture in Paris, where he meets and falls in love with a beautiful expatriate ballet teacher. Sounds corny, eh ? It isn't.
This story is about the Holocaust, but it lacks enormous amounts of melodrama . The
Brianna Mulligan
Although daunting (at almost 800 pages), Julie Orringer's first novel is by far one of the most beautiful stories I read in 2011. Hopefull, naive, heart-wrenching, and disastorous at the same time, Orringer's look into the life of Andras Levi leaves nothing to the imagination. Andras, a Hungarian Jew studying archticture in 1930's Paris, stands at the center of this novel on love and loss. Diving deep into his mind and the lives of his loved ones, the reader grows attached to, and becomes one wi ...more
May 13, 2013 Shelley rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of historical fiction
Recommended to Shelley by: Marianne
I picked up this book because I wanted an epic love story, with a huge historical backdrop. The book turned out to be an excellent historical fiction and coming-of-age story about a young Hungarian Jewish boy (22yrs old). There is a love story, but it is a complicated one. There is great sexual tension and budding romance, as well as confused feelings and worries of heartbreak. However, the story goes so far beyond a romantic love story and decidedly turns deep into the trenches of a wartime his ...more
Jul 16, 2010 Maude rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maude by: Discovered in library
"Paris, 1937. Andras Levi, a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver. As he falls into a complicated relationship with the letter's recipient, he becomes privy to a secret history that will alter the course of his own life. Meanshile, as his elder brother takes up medical studies in Modena and their younger brother leaves school for the stage, Europe's unfolding tragedy sends each of th ...more
It is books like this that remind me of why I love to read big, fat, historical fictions. Beautifully written with a view of WWII that I have never read about, this really was a fantastic read.

I will admit that I was expecting something different as it had been compared to the epic love story of The Bronze Horseman. The love story on this one didn't hold a candle to TBH in terms of the build-up in the one-on-one relationship. BUT, and it is a big but, I felt that The Invisible Bridge had MORE l
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Coffee Talk: March 2015, BoM, The Invisible Bridge 21 22 Mar 24, 2015 05:01PM  
finally finished invisible bridge 17 215 Feb 10, 2014 06:57PM  
So far a bit boring.. 10 162 Mar 28, 2013 01:25AM  
Oprah's Book Club...: The Invisible Bridge 3 48 Sep 25, 2012 02:02PM  
Bright Young Things: February 2012 - The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer 4 26 Feb 11, 2012 02:51AM  
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Julie Orringer is an American author born in Miami, Florida. Her first book, How to Breathe Underwater, was published in September 2003 by Knopf Publishing Group. She is a graduate of Cornell University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her stories have appeared in The Paris Review, McSweeney's, Ploughshares, Zoetrope: All-Story, The Pushcart Prize Ant ...more
More about Julie Orringer...
How to Breathe Underwater Note to Sixth-Grade Self When She Is Old and I Am Famous The New Granta Book of the American Short Story The 826 Quarterly, Volume 3

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“And what if I fail?"
"Ah! Then you'll have a story to tell.”
“Why would a man not argue his own shameful culpability, why would he not crave responsibility for disaster, when the alternative was to feel himself to be nothing more than a speck of human dust?” 8 likes
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