Since elementary school, I've been drawn to WWII-era historical fiction. (Thanks, Lois Lowry.) Twenty years later and I still can't shake the obsession and keep reading WWII novels. The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer is a fine entry in the "genre," but not as outstanding as recent favorites such as The Book Thief. Orringer's novel is an epic tale of love and identity. It follows Andras, a Hungarian Jew, as he arrives in Paris to study architecture two years before war breaks out across Europe. While in Paris, Andras becomes entangled in a complicated relationship with an expatriate Hungarian woman.
Orringer has created a meticulously researched historical setting, but nearly falters in creating an emotional connection with her characters. Maybe it was my busy schedule over the past couple weeks, but I felt no strong sense of empathy until the devastating final parts of the book. However, Orringer has definitely given us a well-crafted novel, bringing the reader to the brink of man's endurance.