Review 2065: The Invisible Bridge

One of the reasons I learned to love reading was that I got swept up into another time or place or even world. As I got older and more discriminating, this experience happened less often. It happened most recently within a few pages of starting The Invisible Bridge, which I read for my James Tait Black project.

Andras Lévi, a young Hungarian Jew, arrives in Paris in 1937 to study architecture. He has brought with him a letter that an acquaintance asked him to mail once he was in Paris. He mails the letter but notices the address.

Soon he is involved in the technicalities of art school, made more difficult because he almost immediately loses his scholarship, a first act of the anti-Semitisim that is perceptibly increasing, although not as bad in Paris as it was in Budapest. He seeks a job at a theater from Zoltán Novak, a man he met on the train from Hungary. When he begins a friendship there with an older actress, she sends him to lunch with friends at the address on the envelope he mailed, and that’s how he meets Klara, an older woman with whom he falls madly in love.

This novel, which starts out seeming very particular, about a love affair between two people, grows into a novel of great breadth, covering events of World War II, the Hungarian Holocaust, life in work camps, the siege of Budapest. All of it is centered in the importance of family.

I absolutely loved this novel. It is sweeping, wonderfully well written, touching, harrowing. And what a story, based on the lives of Orringer’s grandparents. I can’t recommend this book enough.

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8 thoughts on “Review 2065: The Invisible Bridge

  1. Helen November 16, 2022 / 2:42 pm

    I read this when it was first published and can’t remember much about it now, but I know I loved it too. I think it’s the only book I’ve read about the war written from a Hungarian perspective.

    • whatmeread November 16, 2022 / 5:24 pm

      Yes, I loved it. I also liked her more recent book, which I’ll be reviewing in a while. But this one was better.

  2. Rebecca Foster November 16, 2022 / 3:39 pm

    I’m so pleased you loved this as much as I did. Orringer only has three books (alas for us!) and I thought they all were great. Her more recent novel, The Flight Portfolio, is almost as good as this one.

    • whatmeread November 16, 2022 / 5:25 pm

      That’s what I thought, too. I read it several months ago but haven’t reviewed it yet. I haven’t read the third one either, so perhaps a treat is in store.

      • Rebecca Foster November 17, 2022 / 5:51 am

        The other book is contemporary short stories — quite different from her historical fiction, but also very good, I thought.

      • whatmeread November 17, 2022 / 10:17 am

        I’ll have to look for it.

  3. Naomi November 28, 2022 / 3:06 pm

    I loved this, too, when I read it a long time ago. I think it was one of the first books I wrote about for my blog. (It’s probably terrible – I’m not going back to have a look!)

    • whatmeread November 28, 2022 / 3:56 pm

      It was one of my favorites for this year, easily.

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