Friday, December 17, 2010

Review: The Invisible Bridge: A Novel by Julie Orringer

The Invisible Bridge: A Novel 

The Invisible Bridge: A Novel by Julie Orringer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was a bit worried about this book despite the rave reviews I'd read from a few other bookish friends ... the size of the book was intimidating and I'm not sure I was up for another Holocaust book. But, wow, was I surprised! This book was nothing like I'd imagined. It was a wonderful read that I didn't want to put down for a moment. The novel was the perfect combo of great writing, storytelling and historical information! The book is a commitment due to its size but I felt the time was well spent!

I cannot believe that this is Julie Orringer's first novel. She is quite a talented writer and I cannot wait to see what she has for us as she grows as a writer. She has a way with words ... she kept a very long novel compelling to me in part because I wanted to keep reading her prose. Her writing is simply fantastic! Her ability to spin a tale is excellent. Orringer's ability to balance the optimism of the book with the inherent despair and darkness surrounding the characters without resorting to melodrama really makes this novel something special. It has all the elements of a good melodrama but none of the overdone emotion.

The novel is romantic, epic, painful, dark, difficult while also being informative. The characters were one of the things that made this novel just 'sing.' The dimension that each character (major and minor) have just jumps off the page! Yes, it is a Holocaust novel but it is also so much more. And, I would venture to say that its a Holocaust novel that is not like most other Holocaust novels that I've read. There is something special about this one! I had never fully understood Hungary's role in World War II so the historical aspects of the novel were quite new and interesting to me.

Although I certainly loved the book, there were flaws ... the book was not perfect. I think it could have been edited a bit and some of the novel could have been condensed without taking away from the overall novel. Although I didn't find the relationship in the novel to be sappy, I can see why some have described it that way. Sometimes the language did venture into the excessive - but I was not bothered by that because I really loved her writing overall. I enjoyed the level of detail. However, I can see why someone might be put off by that aspect of the novel, particularly given its size.

And so ... in the end, I recommend this book with a note that it is a commitment to read this book. It's not a quick, easy read. But, if you put in the effort, I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

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