19 reviews

The Invisible Bridge
by Julie Orringer

Published: 2010-05-04
Hardcover : 624 pages
74 members reading this now
36 clubs reading this now
34 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 19 of 19 members
Julie Orringer’s astonishing first novel, eagerly awaited since the publication of her heralded best-selling short-story collection, How to Breathe Underwater (“fiercely beautiful”—The New York Times; “unbelievably good”—Monica Ali), is a grand love story set against the ...
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Julie Orringer’s astonishing first novel, eagerly awaited since the publication of her heralded best-selling short-story collection, How to Breathe Underwater (“fiercely beautiful”—The New York Times; “unbelievably good”—Monica Ali), is a grand love story set against the backdrop of Budapest and Paris, an epic tale of three brothers whose lives are ravaged by war, and the chronicle of one family’s struggle against the forces that threaten to annihilate it.

Paris, 1937. Andras Lévi, a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver to C. Morgenstern on the rue de Sévigné. As he falls into a complicated relationship with the letter’s recipient, he becomes privy to a secret history that will alter the course of his own life. Meanwhile, as his elder brother takes up medical studies in Modena and their younger brother leaves school for the stage, Europe’s unfolding tragedy sends each of their lives into terrifying uncertainty. At the end of Andras’s second summer in Paris, all of Europe erupts in a cataclysm of war.

From the small Hungarian town of Konyár to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the lonely chill of Andras’s room on the rue des Écoles to the deep and enduring connection he discovers on the rue de Sévigné, from the despair of Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in forced labor camps and beyond, The Invisible Bridge tells the story of a love tested by disaster, of brothers whose bonds cannot be broken, of a family shattered and remade in history’s darkest hour, and of the dangerous power of art in a time of war.

Expertly crafted, magnificently written, emotionally haunting, and impossible to put down, The Invisible Bridge resoundingly confirms Julie Orringer’s place as one of today’s most vital and commanding young literary talents.

Editorial Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2010: Even if this weren't her first novel, Julie Orringer's Invisible Bridge would be a marvelous achievement. Orringer possesses a rare talent that makes a 600-page story--which, we know, must descend into war and genocide--feel rivetingly readable, even at its grimmest. Building vivid worlds in effortless phrases, she immerses us in 1930s Budapest just as a young Hungarian Jew, Andras Lévi, departs for the �cole Spéciale d'Architecture in Paris. He hones his talent for design, works backstage in a theater, and allies with other Jewish students in defiance of rising Nazi influence. And then he meets Klara, a captivating Hungarian ballet instructor nine years his senior with a painful past and a willful teenage daughter. Against Klara's better judgment, love engulfs them, drowning out the rumblings of war for a time. But inevitably, Nazi aggression drives them back to Hungary, where life for the Jews goes from hardship to horror. As in Dr. Zhivago, these lovers can't escape history's merciless machinery, but love gives them the courage to endure. --Mari Malcolm


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Suggested by Members

I found an interview with her that tells the story of the reason for this book. The basis for the story is her grandfather's story of being a young Hungarian architectural student in Paris, who has go go home to Humgary during the war.
by mramey (see profile) 09/14/11

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Member Reviews

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by Susan L. (see profile) 10/22/23

  "The Invisible Bridge"by Maria U. (see profile) 04/06/14

I learned much about the history of Hungry and the plight of the Jewish people during the horrific time of WWII. Orringer's story connects you to the characters and sweeps you through the times and the... (read more)

  "The Invisible Bridge"by Jaylene M. (see profile) 01/31/14

felt like I knew the characters with the author's superb ability to humanize them. Difficult to read through some of the descriptions of the torturing of Jews during WW 2 but was necessary to build the... (read more)

  "The Invisible Bridge"by Maureen H. (see profile) 01/29/14

Very moving, sad and difficult to read at times, but a great message.

  "Invisible Bridge"by Lynn R. (see profile) 01/29/14

  "The Invisible Bridge"by Thelma A. (see profile) 01/29/14

wonderfully written; powerful in the message of hope and strength of family during a horrible period of history highly recommend to those who enjoy historical fiction and/or romance.

  "A very well written book"by Diane J. (see profile) 01/29/14

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well written and gave insight into the day-to-day lives of Hungarian Jews who had to endure so many hardships and indignities to survive during the Nazi era.

  "Overall a good read "by Janice B. (see profile) 01/01/14

The story is well researched historically and the characters are well developed. Using the Hungarian Jew for the war is a newer perspective and I enjoyed this aspect. Unfortunately there are not unbelievable... (read more)

  "Eloquenty Written Lovely Juxtaposition"by Jodie B. (see profile) 06/14/13

It's always a strange and lovely juxtaposition when a book about such a horrific subject is so beautifully & eloquently written. Julie Orringer is masterful with her prose and the story unfolds in a compelling... (read more)

  "The Invisible Bridge"by Cindy I. (see profile) 04/15/13

I love learning history in such an engaging way.

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