Julie Orringer's astonishing first novel, eagerly awaited since the publication of her heralded best-selling short-story collection, How to Breathe Underwater, is a grand love story set against the backdrop of Budapest and Paris, an epic tale of three brothers whose lives are ravaged by war, and the chronicle of one family's struggle against the forces that threaten to annihilate it.
Paris 1937. Andras Lvi, 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 Svign. As he falls into a complicated relationship with the letters recipient, he becomes privy to a secret history that will alter the course of his own life.
Meanwhile, as his elder brother takes up medical studies in Modena and their younger brother leaves school for the stage, Europe's unfolding tragedy sends each of their lives into terrifying uncertainty. At the end of Andrass second summer in Paris, all of Europe erupts in a cataclysm of war.
From the small Hungarian town of Konyr to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the lonely chill of Andrass room on the rue des coles to the deep and enduring connection he discovers on the rue de Svign, from the despair of Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in forced labor camps and beyond, The Invisible Bridge tells the story of a love tested by disaster, of brothers whose bonds cannot be broken, of a family shattered and remade in history's darkest hour, and of the dangerous power of art in a time of war.
Expertly crafted, magnificently written, emotionally haunting, and impossible to put down, The Invisible Bridge resoundingly confirms Julie Orringer's place as one of todays most vital and commanding young literary talents.
©2010 Julie Orringer (P)2010 Random House
"To bring an entire lost world....to vivid life between the covers of a novel is an accomplishment; to invest that world, and everyone who inhabits it, with a soul, as Julie Orringer does in The Invisible Bridge, takes something more like genius." (Michael Chabon)
“Profound love, familial bonds and the deepest of human loyalties play out against the backdrop of unimaginable cruelty. . . . A stunning first novel.” (Los Angeles Times)
“One of the best books of the year.” (Junot Diaz)
What a wonderfully insightful and human story. Unlike many books on the subject, this book in simply telling a story of life during an unlivable time.
English major. Love to read
I wouldn't be put off by the scoffs at the narrator and not read this book. Mr. Morey has a pretty poor French accent, but otherwise he reads well
and the book should nor be missed. Excellent story and wonderful characters.
Maine Colonial 🌲
Julie Orringer clearly has a love of words and a masterly hand for painting word pictures. It's also apparent that she's done a great deal of research into a lesser-known aspect of Holocaust history; i.e., what happened to Hungarian Jews. This aspect of the book is different and should have a particular appeal for anyone who has an interest in the social history of Europe during WW2.
I appreciated this story, but I wasn't fully drawn in. The main characters, Andras and Klara, seemed two-dimensional. In this lengthy novel, there was too much dwelling on their morose love affair for my taste. For no good reason, Andras often imagines that Klara has been unfaithful to him. His emotional immaturity makes Klara's love for him a little hard to believe in completely.
Several side characters tended to be more interesting. Andras's brother Tibor and his best friends, Mendel and Eli definitely fall into that category. I wish more of the book could have focused on them.
A truly successful novel should have some element of humor in it. Even in Holocaust literature, I've read many books that had that element. It's often bitter, dark humor, but humor nonetheless, that made those books rise above the rest of the genre. This book's plot plods on in its dour way from one event to the next, with only one exception. Andras and his friend Mendel collaborate to create three underground newspapers when they are on their various labor service assignments. The excerpts from these papers are satirical and clever, and bring the book to life in those pages.
Despite these criticisms, Julie Orringer's talent is obvious. She has a real work ethic, a love of language and I hope next time around she will present more vivid, compelling characters and tighter pacing. I will give her next novel a try.
I cannot recommend the audiobook, narrated by Arthur Morey. Morey's voice tends toward the monotone and his emphases and emotional content often seemed to me not to be what the auth
This novel takes a moment to set the stage. Yet once it does you find yourself a jewish boy facing antisemitism in pre world war II europe.
The subtleties of class and culture are explored. Plus the main character finds love which helps sustain him through the complex emotions and situations of the war. This is not a novel about concentration camps, but a narrative story of someone who lives, loves, and breathes during the war. His fears and longings become real to the listener. You become part of his world and can find a different edge than what one normally expects from a WWII novel. I highly reccommend this story. Please note, however, that the narrator is poorly skilled. Luckily, the story is written lively enough to compensate for this shortcoming.
This is one of the best books I have ever read. The auther brings to life the old world with all the hopes, sadness and real people.. This book should be made to a movie. The narriator did a fantastic job.
This is a very long story and should not be read unless one is willing to put in the time. However it is well worth your time. It is a story about a young man who leaves Hungry to go to Paris on an academic scholarship to become an architect. it shows his struggle with assimilating from pre-war to then during the war and how his life is completely turned over due to his status of being a Jew and also as he embarks on a new marriage and family. It is very detailed and the writing is absolutely beautiful. I found I liked the book more and more as it went along and the ending will not disappoint you.
I love books!
First time author for me, debut novel for the author, she also being a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop.
Sometimes when you think of World War II stories, you think to yourself, enough already, it has all been told. But, then you think that WWII is like a Rubik's Cube, you turn and twist it a bit and you have a new and different look at it. The war was so encompassing there will likely always be a new angle to it.
This story is a bit different in that it's mainly set in Hungary. You learn that prior to WWII people from eastern Europe flocked to Paris, just like many Americans and other Europeans, to study and enjoy the Paris lifestyle, just live. But then the war gets in the way and many returned to their home countries and suffered through the war there. Being Jewish wasn't safe in any country. The Jews of Hungary had it better than many of their brethren across the rest of Europe but the war caught up to them, too.
This story is of one Hungarian Jew, Andras, and his family and how they fared. It's a good one and really well written. Enjoy!
Excellent. First half seems a bit lengthy at the time and upon review but it is an excellent and chilling view of what people lived through at the time. Fascinating and gripping.
The descriptions. I wanted to go to Budapest to see this book. Loved Budapest. Beautiful city, the Opera House is the most beautiful one in Europe, according to me. The synagog is beautiful also. It made the book come alive. Shoes Always the Danube is a sad memorial. Buda and Pest are lovely. I read it again on the flight. Very moving.
One of my favorites.
Great book about the world war era Paris and Budapest, as well as about the ravages of the nazi regime in Hungary.
Arthur Morey's narration is great, except when he tries to pronounce Hungarian words, where he fails epically. It would not have been a huge task to ask a native to help out. Also, he is inconsistent in this, pronouncing a word one way and 50 pages down, another way.
All in all, a very engrossing and enjoyable book.
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