I like Mr. Bridge better than Mrs. Bridge because it provides a more accurate timeline of the time period of both books. The only clue I had in "Mrs." was right at the end when WWII was about to break out. But I loved both books. The previous reviewer was put out by Mr. Bridge's coldness and rigidity to "customary behavior." I wasn't -- it made him more real and even sadder than his wife. And, after being raised with every advantage but little else, the two daughters don't find happiness. And Harriet the housekeeper's story was truly tragic.
I'm sorry these two marvelous books aren't being read more. They're together a 20th-century masterpiece and will never be dated.
I LOVED "Mrs. Bridge", Connell's first novel about the Bridge marriage and family. I commented:
"I look forward to reading the companion, "Mr. Bridge". Connell's writing is so good that I wish he had written companion novels for the three Bridge children too!"
So I am genuinely sad to report that the experience of reading "Mr. Bridge" was a disappointment. I was expecting a deeper and more balanced portrait of the remote man portrayed in "Mrs". Instead he emerges as an even more unsympathetic person. Connell seems determined to relay every excruciating detail of the man's every petty thought and action toward other people. I grew so weary of these recitations that i nearly gave up on the book halfway through.
I kept reading for the intermittent glimpses of India Bridge trying and failing to genuinely connect with her husband. Whenever he writes about India, there is a luminosity to Connell's writing that is largely absent elsewhere in the book. There is more about the three Bridge children in the book, and much more about their housekeeper, but nothing to significantly add to their stories as relayed in "Mrs", or to alter my perceptions of who they became.
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