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The Invisible Bridge

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  48,217 ratings  ·  4,978 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
Audiobook, 28 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by Random House Audio
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Lynn I understood that Andras has seen a number of American-made movies, such as Westerns. He commented that one movie was dubbed in Hungarian. So I though…moreI understood that Andras has seen a number of American-made movies, such as Westerns. He commented that one movie was dubbed in Hungarian. So I thought he was referring to the sets seen in the movies.(less)

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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  48,217 ratings  ·  4,978 reviews

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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 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
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew! What a book! This book was very, very good. This is NOT however, a book you would race through. If you want a book that is going to be a quick read, this is NOT it. However, if you want a thought-provoking, beautifully-written story that will wash over you like a warm bath..then this is for you. There were times in this book where I had to set it aside..because I just felt like I needed a break (this book was pretty lengthy). I am a very speedy reader, too. This book however, was not a boo ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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,
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Elyse  Walters
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
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 -
It is
as though I lay
under a low
sky and breathed
through a needle’s eye.

(W.G. Sebald, Unrecounted)

However this lengthy debut novel with epic aspirations promisingly enough starts with a gripping quote by W.G. Sebald and despite the noble intentions of the author, partly inspired by her grandparents’ experiences in their survival of the Holocaust, as a whole this book in the end frustrated and slightly exasperated me, even if my expectations on it actually were not very high. When I heard my real l
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
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
May 26, 2010 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
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 22, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my mom, holocaust movie enthusiast
Shelves: 2010, wwii, audiobooks
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
It’s all too easy to burn out on World War II narratives these days, but this is among the very best I’ve read. It bears similarities to other war sagas such as Birdsong and All the Light We Cannot See, but the focus on the Hungarian Jewish experience was new for me. Although there are brief glimpses backwards and forwards, most of the 750-page book is set during the years 1937–45, as Andras Lévi travels from Budapest to Paris to study architecture, falls in love with an older woman who runs a b ...more
Sep 18, 2011 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
May 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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

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
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
Krok Zero
Jun 18, 2010 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
Karen Mundo
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 02, 2011 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
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011, world-war-2
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
Jun 01, 2011 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
Apr 29, 2010 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
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Barbara H
Dec 22, 2010 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
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Can't put into words how powerfully sorrowful this novel made me for the millions of people that lived in Europe during WWII. Amazing the human spirit that carried the survivors through. Highly recommend.
Brooke Waite
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2106-favorites
My review could never do justice to this incredible book! I learned so much, cried so much and felt the deep agony of family, love, art, tradition and memories ravaged by the horrors of war. Part love story (sometimes a little overly precious) part war saga, the reader travels from luscious light-filled Paris with its promise of future to the strangled dread and terror of Budapest. I hadn't learned about the fate of the Hungarian people as Allies of the Reich, but more especially their Jewish po ...more
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
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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

Articles featuring this book

World War II has inspired libraries full of great literature and continues to hold a strong fascination for all types of...
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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” 11 likes
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