The Invisible Bridge: Julie Orringer

The Invisible Bridge is Julie Orringer’s first novel – and it is brilliant. Her short-story collection, How to Breathe Underwater, was celebrated for being ‘fiercely beautiful’ (The New York Times). The Invisible Bridge is also beautifully written, and despite the enormous length (over 600 pages) and the fact that we know the premise of the story, it’s an inexorable read.

Here is an epic novel of three brothers, set in Hungary and Paris, from1937 to the end of the war. Orringer tells with great clarity the effects of war on families and landscape. The depiction of the labour camps is brutal and heart-breaking. The story of Andras Levi, a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student, and his romance with wealthy young widow Klara, holds the heart of the story. The portrayal of their lives and the desperate war around them is quite astounding. There is not a word wasted, nor a phase that is not meaningful in this novel. I found it almost impossible to put down and grieved when it ended.