Dollie's Reviews > Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo
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Jul 22, 2008

it was amazing
Recommended to Dollie by: Book Club Choice

I am not sure if it was because I had grown up in the area where this book takes place or if it was just a very good novel but after 528 pages, I still wanted more. I could have followed these lives and the following generations for a long time. I grew up in Troy NY and I noticed Richard Russo grew up in Gloversville, NY so I gather that is why it all felt so authentic. The town was fictional but I sure did recognize it as well as the characters. I have never read Mr. Russo's books before but I will most definitely read more. I was intrigued with every character and although I couldn't predict where the story was going, I had to find out. Great read!!
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message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul Hi Dollie,
I just joined "goodreads", and logged on to read your comments on several books. I don't read much, (more magazines and newspapers/online news than books), but I must say, Richard Russo is one of my favorite authors. I'm looking forward to "Book of Sighs". I read and enjoyed Nobody's Fool (also a movie), The Risk Pool, Empire Falls, and a collection of short stories called, "The Whore's Child". Most of the stories take place in upstate NY, altough one or two are set in New England. I liked Empire Falls the best, and Nobody's Fool second. Most of the stories involve at least one alcoholic, which I found fascinating as I was going through the first phase of understanding the disease (one of my siblings has the disease). His tone is sardonic, almost cynical, but just enough heart to make it interesting. If you are inclined to read another of Russo's books, let's talk about it.

It will be interesting to see how you react. I'm not sure about Bridge of Sighs, but I thought his work was "male-centric".

Thanks for inviting me to join Goodreads. I hope it encourages me to read more.


Dollie Hi Paul!

You are right about the "male-centric" aspect but there are a couple of very strong female characters in "Bridge of Sighs". "Empire Falls" I have heard has been his claim to fame. I think that is the next one I'll tackle!

Thanks for joining. Quite honestly I pushed enter one too many times meaning to invite just a couple of fellow readers and ended up inviting my whole contact list!! But, the more the merrier. Welcome aboard! Some folks were quite confused. I ended up inviting some mere acquaintances. Makes me look like a real goof ball,

message 3: by Paul (new)

Paul If you're a goof ball, then we'll have a lot in common. I just got a book rec from Kathi Turner: Someone Knows My Name
Have you read it?

Dollie No, I haven't but Kathi rarely does or says anything boring so I doubt the book is boring. We can see what others have to say on this site.

message 5: by Katharine (new) - added it

Katharine Paul! I just received the following review from my cousin Joe in New Jersey. I've added it to my to-read list and thought it might also be your cup of tea as well.

"I just finished a book by Echart Tolle called, "A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life's Purpose".
If I had to sum it up in a brief sentence, I would say it has to do with thinking in terms of "we" instead of "me". The "we" being not just people, but the entire universe. The "me" being our ego and how our thoughts can interfere or prevent us from being aware of our essence.
I don't know about you, but I find it very difficult to be still in my head - I'm good at doing nothing (physically that it is), but I don't have the ability to clear my mind of words and thoughts. I don't think anyone really has that ability, at least for any sustained length of time, they just say they do to make everyone else feel inferior.
The author does not say which particular faith he subscribes to, but it is clear that he is a spiritual man. He references many sources (Revelation, Matthew, Philippians, Luke, John, U.S.Dept.of Justice, Shakespeare, Tao, Emerson, Nietzsche and Einstein) in an attempt to find a common spiritual thread that binds the whole tapestry - similar in my mind, how scientists are still trying to come up with a "General Theory" for the universe and everything in it, from the most minute to the grandest scale.
I have my own theory - you die and go "wow".

Dollie Hi Kathi,

This review is the absolute funniest! I love how Joe throws in the "US Dept of Justice" between "John" and "Shakespeare".

Clearly this man is related to you! Family reunions must be a hoot. Although I always thought you go "wow" and then you die. It is really hard to verify the other way around, I think. But I shouldn't think because that is my ego talking. Oh for heaven sakes!

Hard book to follow but very spiritual indeed.

message 7: by Katharine (new) - added it

Katharine Hi Doll! Yes, indeed, Joe and I are just two out of a very large Italian/Irish family who might call one another soulmates. When he sent this review I replied by saying it was certain we shared some serious DNA. I look forward to reading it, and I'm glad you liked the review!

Still trying to figure out how to make good use of Goodreads -- like filling in my 'to-read' list. They have no 'Help' button!


Dollie You'll figure it out. Just take it one book at a time!

message 9: by Katharine (last edited Oct 16, 2008 04:25PM) (new) - added it

Katharine It just occurred to me -- you love Steinbeck -- I'll bet you'd love Saroyan, too. Especially "The Human Comedy." The Human Comedy.

Also -- there was a Steinbeck book in the early sixties that did not make it into the top popular ones, but I really liked it. Did you happen to read it? It was called "The Winter of our Discontent."

Have you done the Steinbeck museum in Salinas? What a great outing that would be!

K. The Winter of Our Discontent

message 10: by Paul (new)

Paul The winter of Our Discontent was great! Middle Age, the state of our nation (although written in early 60's, it is still relevant), and that small town New England setting (or was it NY)? It's a great read, not as absorbing as East of Eden or Grapes of Wrath, but still a pageturner.

Dollie Okay, okay now I have put this one on my "to-read" list. I do love Steinbeck. "The Pearl" was a good read too. "Tortilla Flat" and "Cannery Row" made me laugh. I love how he can assign nobility to some very un-noble characters.

A few years back I had attempted to read a HUGE biography about him. I don't know why I didn't finish it because it was sooo comprehensive and so fascinating.

"Travels with Charley" is great too. It is a journal of his travels across America with his small dog "Charley".

Thanks for the tip. I may finish my to-read list when I am 90!

message 12: by Katharine (last edited Oct 17, 2008 12:26PM) (new) - added it

Katharine Hi Paul! Gosh I'm glad someone else read "Winter...." I think it was about the time of the tv quiz-show cheating scandal, and I (being young and a new parent) was struck by the ethical dilemma faced by the father. You are right -- it is a lightweight compared to those two giants of literature ('Grapes...' and '...Eden,') but a good story with a moral that is still timely. I re-read 'Grapes of Wrath' every few years and still get passionately caught up in it -- and find new insights each time as I grow older. Sort of like when I read Scripture. My guess is that all writings on profound subjects are like time-release capsules -- 'releasing' their message in more depth as life experience increases.

Dollie That was a really profound insight, Kathi. It rings very true. Nicely put.

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