Jessica's Reviews > Mrs. Bridge

Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell
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Mar 19, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: they-made-me-do-it, chicklits
Read from February 26 to March 05, 2012

I can't for the life of me figure out what makes this novel so great, but damn it is great. I wish I knew why.

You might protest and cry, "Oh but I have already read so many novels about repressed twentieth-century housewives!" But that is like being offered a plate of chocolate chip cookies and saying, "No thank you. I've tried those before."

Chocolate chip cookies are delicious and aren't less so for being frequently baked. And anyway, you haven't had a cookie quite like this one before.

Told in a series of 117 titled vignettes, Mrs. Bridge is the story of an affluent woman living in 1930s-ish Kansas City. In a weird way what it reminded me of was Less Than Zero, just in the sense that yes, rich housewives are easy targets in the same way that stoned spoiled LA teenagers are. But both books, for me, really start when you realize that they're not just talking about their subjects, and that what you thought was the floor is actually a flimsy false bottom covering that yawning abyss on the brink of which we all cravenly teeter.

The difference, of course, is that this is an infinitely better book by an immensely gifted writer who possesses heart, nerve, and brains. Really curious to read more by Evan S. Connell; looks like he's written a bunch of crazy looking shit since this came out in the fifties, and still at it! Not sure if I'm as interested in Mr. Bridge as some of his more different stuff. Any thoughts from those who know? The Custer book looks pretty cool...
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11/03/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Aria (new)

Aria Its like Mrs. Dalloway..... if of course she were cast in Bravo's Real Housewives franchise. ;)

message 2: by Eric (last edited Mar 19, 2012 10:30PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eric Your cookie comparison is right on. He's a sly genius in an overexposed, sensational subgenre. I think Mr. Bridge is every bit as good, but all the same I don't regret putting two years between the novels. There aren't many reviews on GR, or on the internet generally, of his crazy looking shit, his prose poems and forays into alchemy and the Crusades....but I can say the Custer book is devastating, spooky, a classic; he flenses the nation of its pretensions with the utmost elegance. One of the blurbers on my copy calls it the life of Custer as Flaubert would have written it...and that's right.

message 3: by Eric_W (last edited Mar 20, 2012 05:39AM) (new)

Eric_W Eric wrote: ; he flenses the nation of its pretensions with the utmost elegance.."

Now that's a phrase I have to remember... It's perfect.

message 4: by Chris (new)

Chris Mr. Bridge is a fine novel. The only other of his that I tried to read was "Deus Lo Volt!". I thought it was terrible. Meandering and largely indigestible. I put it away without regrets.

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