Julie's Reviews > The Invisible Bridge

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
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's review
Jun 03, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: own, vine, fiction
Read in May, 2010 — I own a copy , read count: 1

This stunning debut noel portrays a side of WWII that is not often written about - Hungary's role in the war. Told from the perspective of Andras Levi, this book follows him from his first days as an architecture student in Paris in 1937 through the end of the war. There are so many aspects to this story that make this novel an incredible epic: Levi's architectural studies, his life in Paris, his affair with an older woman, his return to his homeland upon the outbreak of war on the continent, his marriage and fatherhood, his experience as a Jewish laborer in a German-allied nation, and all the horrors of war he is forced to endure. There are so many beautiful moments presented even more elegantly thanks to Orringer's superb writing. But for every touching account, there are a dozen tragedies. Andras carries the burden of being a Jew in a Europe that wants to destroy his kind. First his education is forfeited, then his livelihood, and finally his freedom. While he is blessed with a large and supportive family, they are another element of his life that can easily be taken away.

I was intrigued by the portrayal of Hungary's role in the conflict. I found the historical aspect well integrated with Andras' own history. The characters were so well developed that they were tangible to me as I read. The lovely Klara, the older woman whom Andras meets in Paris causes him so much joy and angst. His fellow architecture students, especially the tragic figure of Polaner who remains steadfast in his devotion to Andras. His supportive older brother Tibor is a constant source of encouragement, even in the face of death. There is an extensive cast of characters who affect Andras' life, each one with a distinct role in shaping him into the man he would become.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about this exquisite novel. The skill in which it was writted, the seamless blend of history and fiction, and the emotion it evokes is as close to perfection as anything I've read. Bravo!

I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Amazon Vine Program.

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