The Invisible Bridge

THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE is without question the best book I’ve read this year.! I don’t say this lightly. I had begun to wonder if a truly great novel would find its way into my hands.  But it was so worth the wait. Julie Orringer has shown us a side of Hungary before WWII and during that we have not seen before. That is not an easy task. There are many novels set in this period, but none do what this one does. I find myself still reeling from the breadth of this magnificent saga.  I loved reading the afterward and hearing that this novel came from actual history taken from the author’s grandparent’s story.

The story begins in Budapest in the early1930’s. We meet the Levi’s, a Jewish family with three sons. Andras, the middle son, is getting ready to go to Paris to architecture school on scholarship. Andras leaves for Paris via train shortly after the opening. His head is full of wonder at the opportunity ahead, but even on this trip, he sees first hand at a train stop in Germany, a glimmer of what’s to come when he approaches a vendor for food and sees a sign turning Jews away.

The first half of this sweeping novel is spent setting the tone for the second half.  Orringer has outdone herself showing us  how deep friendships can be, how deeply family members can feel about each other. She has also given us one of the most tender and durable love stories of all time. All while settling us in for one of the most sweeping and memorable novels of all time.

WWII is one of my favorite topics. But the story of the Hungarian Jews has largely been kept at bay until recently.  Partly, I think, because Hungary wansn’t occupied by Germany until the bitter end. Even though heinous atrocities occurred time after time to these loyal souls in Hungary, we know little about these activities. Orringer makes no bones about baring the truths here. The last quarter of this remarkable story is harsh to say the least, but Orringer has given us much to soften it. There is so much good coming out of the horror. The sacrifices of love, honor, family, friendship, and lives are all here. They take tremendous tolls. But survival is what this story is all about.

As Hungary begins to fall into the hands of Nazi Germany, we know what will happen. But Orringer keeps us on the edge of our seats, kept me reading late into the night, made me want to know more about this part of the war. But, mostly, reading this staggering first novel of enormous historical presence, made me want to tell everyone I know to put this amazing book at the top of your must read list for the summer.  You will be totally blown away by the writing, the attention to detail, the story itself, and mostly the people who will become parts of you forever. You don’t want to miss this one.

The Invisible Bridge

Invisible Bridge

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6 thoughts on “The Invisible Bridge

  1. Thanks so much for this recommendation. I also count the World War II era as my favorite when it comes to reading. I made a very memorable visit to Hungary a few years ago when my son lived there, and cannot wait to get my hands on the book.
    sue in fl

  2. I saw your review for The Invisible Bridge in the Barnes & Noble at Coconut Point. If it weren’t for your review, I probably would have walked right by the book. Thanks for the recommendation, I’m excited to start it!

  3. Thank you for once again recommending one of the most memorable books that I have read!! The story of WWII from this point of view was informative and moving. I hated the story of this Hungarian Jewish family to end.

  4. I have added your column to my favorites. Am trying to read most of your lists and suggestions. So far I have not been disappointed. Loved the Invisible Bridge and the Thin Red Thread and The Island. Just finished the Imperfectionists and can’t wait to start Stiltsville. There are just not enough hours in the day to complete all of your suggestions. Would love to see you in Naples on 9/29 but unfortunately, my schedule will not allow this. Hope that you print your list on line for more suggestions. Many thanks. Anne

    • So nice to hear your comments. Thanks so much! I will be sure to post about the list of books I’m presenting on Sept.29th. Am reading a really good one right now. THE CLOUDS BENEATH THE SUN.

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