Louis Charles ("Lucy") Lynch has spent all of his 60 years in upstate Thomaston, New York, married to the same woman, Sarah, for 40 of them, with their son now a grown man. Like his late, beloved father, Lucy is an optimist, though he's had plenty of reasons not to be - chief among them his mother, still indomitably alive. Yet it was her shrewdness, combined with that Lynch optimism, that had propelled them years ago to the right side of the tracks and created an "empire" of convenience stores about to be passed on to the next generation.
Lucy and Sarah are also preparing for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy, where his oldest friend, a renowned painter, has exiled himself far from anything they'd known in childhood. In fact, the exact nature of their friendship is one of the many mysteries Lucy hopes to untangle in the "history" he's writing of his hometown and family. And with his story interspersed with that of Noonan, the native son who'd fled so long ago, the destinies building up around both of them (and Sarah, too) are relentless, constantly surprising, and utterly revealing.
©2007 Richard Russo; (P)2007 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
"Largehearted, vividly populated and filled with life from America's recent, still vanishing past." (Publishers Weekly)
I've listened to Empire Falls, Nobody's Fool and Bridge of Sighs and I loved each one of them. John Irving used to be my favorite for this genre of novel, but Russo has nudged him aside. Until someone else comes along, Russo is the best at revealing human nature in such a creative, unexpected, close to the bone, sad, serious, humourous, and relateable way. For more on Richard Russo read my review of Empire Falls.
This is wonderful tale, about more than small town America! Who hasn't had a friend that don't like us as much as we liked them? Who doesn't remember those junior high dances in the upstairs gym of a YMCA? These characters are so real. The stories are so delightful. And Russo takes so many of each and keeps you on the edge of your seat wanting to hear more!! Yes this has a "happily ever after" endng (sorry to spoil it for some), but there is lots of pain and drama that makes it real.
The narration is superb. Morey does a masterful job of differentiating the characters, male and female, young and old. I will look for more read by this man.
I have read Nobody's Fool (loved it!) and the Straight Man (it was so-so), but this is tops. I didn't want the story to end.
Yeesh, this has got to be the slowest story ever told! The narrator is a dull and slow reader, making it even worse. I'm not sure what the appeal is, but I am continuing to listen, so I can't just dismiss it. I find the characters pedestrian and not particularly like-able, I find myself rolling my eyes at them. You could call this book "homey" and sentimentally retrospective. The character who's telling the story has had exactly one interesting passage and I'm half way done. Not a good choice for a listener who tends toward melancholy or depression. I feel it bringing on seasonal affective disorder.. and I live in a warm, sunny place!
I loved Empire Falls and wanted more of Richard Russo. Bridge of Sighs is a very slow listen. I could not even get through the first part of the download. Disappointing.
Be kind to someone today.
Months later I am still thinking about the characters. They were so well developed, and the story so emotionally involving, it's as if I may have lived in that little town for a time.
This story was indeed slow going for the first few hours, but I stuck with it, because of all the good things I'd heard about Richard Russo. So glad I did! What a sweet story. I must have listened to it at just the right time because I could relate much of the book to my own life in many ways. I'll think about Ikey's and the loveable characters inside for a long time.
I really enjoyed this book. My wife thought it was ok, somewhat boring. But I loved the characters and the development of their lives and relationships. Some reviewers thought it was too slow, but I liked the deliberate pace. While each character was important to the story, I especially liked Bobby, Lou, Sarah and Ikey Lubins!
I love Richard Russo and I think this might be my favorite book of his. I enjoyed the humor of Straight Man and the inner turmoil of Empire Falls, but I found this book most particularly affecting.
Please, please, please, listen to the sample before you buy this book. The wooden, self-conscious narration threatens to suck the very life from this story. I am a big Richard Russo fan, but, unfortunately, I have not been able to get past the awkward reading and feel like I'm forcing myself to continue. What a disappointment.
I'm midway through listening and I think I'll be forcing myself to continue until the end. I'm a big fan of Richard Russo--I read Empire Falls, listened to the audio version, AND watched the TV mini series--but I don't think the narrator does much for the author's typically languid pace by talking....so....slowly....himself...and..never...varying...his...tone. Of course, I had just finished listening to The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; the viruoso narration might have spoiled me. I've endured some slow reads in the past, but this is the first time I've ever changed the setting on my iPod for an audiobook to be read "faster" rather than normal. Even with the boost, the narration is...still....too...slow.
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