Connell was born in Kansas City in He served in the US navy in the Second World War and lived briefly in Paris before returning to the US, where he wrote and supported himself with odd jobs. His incredibly varied books range from long experimental poems to a best-selling biography of General Custer, but he will be remembered above all for his two masterpieces about middle-class, suburban American life: Mrs Bridge and Mr Bridge. He died in New Mexico in For the latest books, recommendations, offers and more.
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Mrs Bridge by Evan S. Connell - ISBN: (Penguin)
View more editions. Buy from. Share at. More in this Series. As the book goes on Mrs Bridge starts to ask questions about her life, initially small then looking at her life in a wider view. All this was done utterly masterfully, yet it did make me feel rather disconnected with her in some ways slightly too.
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You felt sorry for her, but from afar and sometimes she came across rather bigoted and snobbish. Connell chooses to tell the story in fairly short vignettes and amongst them are some wonderful set pieces, often on set piece will re-emerge in a the next vignette or two or three along which I really liked. There is an issue with another neighbour trying to steal her maid, Harriet, and when seeing the neighbour in church almost leading to the faints.
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I did laugh aloud a few times as I read. Like dinner with the Van Metres, once you accepted an invitation you were obligated to reciprocate, or, as Mr Bridge had once expressed it, retaliate. The same applied with the melancholic tone of the book. There was the slightly sinister tale of her son Douglas decided to build a tower of rubbish that becomes a well known landmark, perfectly mixing the funny and the dark which I love in books and I thought Connell did marvellously. I feel it is patronising to say that Connell wrote a woman so well, but I did, and I did think his prose was sublime.
Had I not then I think this would have bowled me over far more than it did and indeed I think I was expecting it to seriously blow me away, instead I just thought it was very good. That probably sounds harsh and like I am damning it with faint praise, I promise I am not because I can see why many people have been so impressed by it too. Filed under Evan S. Tagged as Evan S. Connell , Mrs Bridge , Persephone Classics. He sounded to be a lovely person! Thanks for the link Simon. I must read some more Persephones to find those better than Mrs Bridge, which as you know, I adored. Are you going to take the plunge with Mr Bridge sometime later do you think???
Which makes it even more up my street!
A life unfulfilled, funny but full of melancholy…
Bridge without reading Mr. Bridge as well, so I strongly urge you to give it a go, Simon. Also, the movie starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward is brilliant. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.
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