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The Invisible Bridge

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  38,834 Ratings  ·  4,300 Reviews
Paris, 1937. Andras Lévi, a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he promised to deliver. But when he falls into a complicated relationship with the letter's recipient, he becomes privy to a secret that will alter the course of his—and his family’s—history. From the small Hungarian town o ...more
ebook, 651 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by Vintage (first published 2010)
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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
Jul 03, 2010 Carlin Hauck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 15, 2014 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not just another wwII holocaust read. Although, I did hesitate to pick it up but only for a moment as I read several stunning reviews that suggested I better take a look at it. I’m so grateful I did.
This is an epic story. It's 1937 pre war Hungary. Three brother's lives are diverging. At the core, is the story of one brother, Andras, who goes to Paris to study. On arrival he finds friendship, love, and passion. Then the horrific war begins. The atmosphere is heavy - laden with sadness,
Jun 26, 2011 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is WONDERFUL!!!!

Julie Orringer is both a great storyteller and a great writer. Excellent Historical Fiction.

UPDATE 2015: Here is another book I read 5 years ago... soooo good. I remember every detail. Read it when it first came out - then a couple years later with my Jewish book club.

I'm sitting here - today - reading. while on the bike at the gym at the moment and a GR's sent me a note about how much she loved this too...
Then - I had the pleasure to read many of my friends reviews -
Nov 30, 2010 K rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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...
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
Nov 15, 2016 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: set-in-france
For a long time I thought the author was writing about members of her own family so idealised and sentimentalised were the depiction of all the relationships in this novel. When she isn’t writing about relationships she writes really well so it was the only explanation I could find for this relentless alienating sentimentality. Further enhancing this idea was the strange structure – the first 300 pages are set in Paris. Then, suddenly, the entire cast is uprooted to Hungary. Paris, the equivalen ...more
May 26, 2010 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ears ...." "the
You know why books about WWII never get old? Because humanity *still* hasn't seemed to learn the most basic lessons: policies based on hate, evil, and intolerance never end well. Sigh...

This book was a bit too long, but told the story from the unique perspective of Hungarian Jews during WWII. Even if a person in Europe during the war years never saw a battlefield or an "official" concentration camp, life was nothing short of a living hell.

4 stars
Jun 30, 2011 Spencer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 22, 2010 j rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my mom, holocaust movie enthusiast
Shelves: audiobooks, 2010, 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
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
Sep 18, 2011 Suzanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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

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
Karen Mundo
Aug 10, 2011 Karen Mundo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 18, 2010 Krok Zero rated it it was ok  ·  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 02, 2011 PDXReader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 30, 2010 Esil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had read great review of this book and waited a long time with anticipation for this book to come out as a trade paperback. I was not disappointed. I had trouble putting it down, reading its over 700 page in a week--a busy work week at that. I liked the characters and the story. But mostly I thought Orringer did a great job of conveying what it must have felt like to be Jewish and in Hungary during World War II. I did not know much about Hungary's role during the war other than that many Jews ...more
Jun 01, 2011 Merry rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Newcomer Orringer provides a great saga of two Hungarian Jewish families before and during World War 2. Very uplifting and elucidating on how the strengths of character, love, and courage can build a future despite the misfortunes of history. Does not dwell on the origins or significance of man's inhumanity to man in the same manner as some Holocaust accounts. The progression to the Final Solution was a much more insidious, slow progression for Hungary, which retained some independence from Germ ...more
Apr 29, 2010 Daisy rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Dec 22, 2010 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: holocaust-ww-2
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
Oct 07, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 27, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2, 2011
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
Jun 22, 2010 Jennifer Hu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 14, 2011 Genia Lukin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It was like love, he thought, this crumbling chapel: It had been complicated, and thereby perfected, by what time had done to it.

3.5 stars.
This novel shows us how slow the descent into hell can be - the writing fits it perfectly, there is no dramatics or shouting. The first half of the story drags a bit, although I think it necessary for us to get to know all the characters and their backgrounds, the author could probably have shorten it. I loved that we see that normal life still goes on even i
Lisa Vegan
May 02, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing  ·  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
May 17, 2016 C.W. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Holocaust remains one of history's most unfathomable tragedies: How could something so unthinkable have actually happened in the modern world? How could so many people have stood by as so many others - neighbors, friends, even loved ones - were systematically stripped of their rights, debased, abused, and then deported to concentration camps across eastern Europe, where the machinery of death engineered by the Nazis annihilated them? Even years later, we still grapple with trying to comprehe ...more
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Around the Year i...: The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer 14 19 Mar 17, 2017 08:22PM  
Play Book Tag: The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer - 4 stars 2 19 Feb 26, 2016 02:50PM  
Play Book Tag: Invisible Bridge by by Julie Orringer ( Author), Arthur Morey (Narrator) 11 30 Feb 07, 2016 03:53PM  
finally finished invisible bridge 17 232 Feb 10, 2014 06:57PM  
So far a bit boring.. 10 171 Mar 28, 2013 01:25AM  
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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...

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“And what if I fail?"
"Ah! Then you'll have a story to tell.”
“It was like love, he thought, this crumbling chapel: it has been complicated, and therefore perfected, by what time had done to it” 9 likes
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