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The Invisible Bridge
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Archive: Other Books > The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer - 5*

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Doughgirl5562 | 754 comments Description: In 1937 young Andras Levi, a Hungarian Jew, travels to Paris to study architecture. He carries with him a mysterious letter that he has been asked to deliver to a K Morgenstern. "k" is Klara Morgenstern, who carries a dark secret of her own. This epic novel is the story of their romance, relationship and lives- and the lives of their families. It's told against the backdrop of a Europe in which the evil of Antisemitism and Nazi Germany's nationalist ambitions are bubbling to the top, eventually exploding into a world war. Part of the story is set in Paris, and part in Andras and Klara's native Budapest and Hungary.

My review:
This novel does several things excellently. One of those is to give the reader an idea of the incremental steps that led to WWII - and show the growth of antisemitism in Europe. (or should I say the growth of blatant and open antisemitism?). Step by step, bit by bit. First anti-Semitic thoughts and actions are in the dark and secret, then those with these thoughts start having meetings and gatherings, and form organizations and political parties. And their actions become accepted and get worse and more blatant, until … ..

On the positive side though, is the resilience of the human spirit - especially shown in many of the characters in this book. They carry on with their lives in as usual a way as they can - facing each challenge as best as they can. Living day by day as best as they can. Loving each other .. as best as they can.

That's not to say that all characters in the novel are shining examples of humanity. One of the things I liked best about this novel is how real the characters seemed. They have their shining moments - and their not so shining moments. This world is full of shades of grey, and this author showed that well.

A year ago I spent a few days in Budapest, Hungary while on a Danube river cruise. While there I made sure that I visited a certain memorial on the banks of the Danube River. The memorial is a number of pairs of empty shoes molded in iron. That’s all. Just lots of shoes. Very realistic, everyday, worn shoes. Men’s shoes, women’s shoes, and even some children’s shoes. The sign by the memorial reads "To the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross militiamen in 1944–45”. (The Arrow Cross were homegrown Hungarian fascists who aligned with the Nazis.) Although only referred to briefly in this novel, by reading it I now have a much better understanding of how something so unthinkable to me actually happened.

If anyone is planning to visit Budapest, I urge you to take this book along or read it shortly before or after. And maybe visit the Shoes memorial on the Danube River and say a prayer for the souls of those lost in this tragedy.

message 2: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 8853 comments Great Review, Great Book! Glad to share it with you Dough Girl!

Booknblues | 6194 comments Excellent review. You captured the book. Lucky you to visit Budapest.

Doughgirl5562 | 754 comments Thanks Ladies!

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