Mrs Bridge Paperback – 1 Sep 1990
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"A hell of a portrait." --Wallace Stegner"For all their satire and dark implications, the novels of the Bridge family remain in the memory as triumphs of faultless realism. Mr. Connell's art is one of restraint and perfect mimicry." --"The New York Times""The reissue of these classic American novels is an event to be celebrated.... Mr. and Mrs. Bridge are forever human, forever vulnerable, forever pitiable. In spare, whimsical, ironic prose, Connell exposes each and every one of their wrinkles and then, in the, offers them to us as human beings to be cherished." --Jonathan Yardley
About the Author
Evan Connell's other novels include "Mr. Bridge," "The Diary of a Rapist," and "The Connoisseur," He has also written short stories, collected in" Saint Augustine's Pigeon," book-length poems ("Notes From a Bottle Found On the Beach at Carmel" and" Points for a Compass Rose") and nonfiction (most recently the best-selling" Son of the Morning Star"). All of these titles are available from North Point Press.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Connell's narrative is ironic and disingenuous. In 117 very short chapters we are presented with episodes in Mrs Bridges's life, sometimes funny in their banality, sometimes biting in their social observations which are uneditorialized but unforgiving. There is the danger that the reader ends up smugly mocking Mrs Bridge, but Connell allows us to pity her to the point where this becomes a deeply sad and rather frightening book.
Mr Bridge remains in the background, only sometimes tantalizingly coming to the fore. Connell wrote a companion novel "Mr Bridge" which is soon to be published in Penguin Modern Classics: I can't wait to see the same decades through his eyes. Meanwhile this Penguin Modern Classic comes with an excellent introduction by Joshua Ferris.
What this book describes beautifully is the way in which women like her found themselves hamstrung by social conventions of the time. Her daughter befriends Alice a "coloured girl". Alice is bright and inventive and an ideal friend for Carolyn but Mrs Bridge makes sure the friendship is only fleeting. She would not be able to verbalise the problem - she just knew it was not right. Later she is unable to inform any of her friends that her daughter is engaged because her fiancé is the son of a plumber.
Much of the book is a reflection of the mores of the time. When her daughter tells her that her husband had hit her Mrs Bridge replies: "You must have done something to provoke. Didn't you?"
This is a fascinating book of quiet desperation as a woman's world spins out of control.
Don't get me wrong. This IS a funny book - just not as simply funny as you might have thought from the cover. Poor Mrs Bridge is trapped in a perfect suburban life, perfectly described in a series of piercingly short chapters - each one a pin in the placid doll of Mrs Bridge.
We are invited to laugh at Mrs Bridge because she isn't a simple victim of fate. She actively colludes in circumscribing her own horizons, whilst recognising and mourning what is becoming of her. One night, as she spreads cold cream over her face, `she considered her fingers, which dipped into the jar of their own accord. Rapidly, soundlessly, she was disappearing into white, sweetly scented anonymity. Gratified by this she smiled, and perceived a few seconds later that beneath the mask she was not smiling. All the same, being committed, there was nothing to do but proceed.'
It's a beautifully crafted book - and a thoroughly uncomfortable read for any of us who has put off doing that bigger, more difficult thing that will open our horizons, to turn instead to doing the ironing, making a cup of tea or picking up a magazine. Essential reading!
I think that overall this book is very cleverly written, it sets you up to form an initial opinion of Mrs Bridge and then by the time you have finished you may see her reflected in yourself, but in a slightly disquieting way.....and then your opinion may change.
A good read but not a 'feel good' read - I would recommend it regardless!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Tightly written little gem of a book,dealing with all sorts of issues such as race ,sexism and the vexed question of parenting. Loved it.Published 3 months ago by Mary Canavan
I can't recall why I bought this book. I think I was looking into books featuring strong women characters. I don't think I'd call Mrs B strong. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Latina
I am not sure this book could be written in Britain, although it might have been done. We would approach the character of India Bridge from above or below, and in fact this is... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ken
I was really looking forward to this, seeing as I literally devoured Mrs Bridge. This is not as crisp as Mrs Bridge, I really liked/empathised/pitied her character more in Mrs... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Adunova
A poignant read of an 'invisible' housewife. Worth reading Mr Bridge as well, as the same story but from his perspective.Published 11 months ago by Mrs. A. Stopford
I really enjoyed this novel. Possibly some parts are a bit woolly but comfortably worth 5 stars.
It really is quite poignant and moving although there is keen humour in... Read more