Friday, January 11, 2013

Remembering Evan S. Connell and Mrs. Bridge

PW Daily has just informed me that Evan S. Connell passed away yesterday. I must comment on this because he happens to be the author of one of my favorite books of all time: Mrs. Bridge. (I am also quite fond of the companion novel, Mr. Bridge.)

One of my favorite styles of writing to read is the witty and satirical portrait of how absurd people are. It's very hard to do well. I'm sure I couldn't, although bits of it do filter into my writing. My favorite novel of this type is Mrs. Bridge.

I came upon the book in a funny way. I was reading a non-fiction book about people who collect and resell antiquarian books, and they purchased a copy of Mrs. Bridge and included a generous excerpt from the novel. An entire chapter, I think, which wouldn't be hard because the entire book is written as a series of short chapters, moments in the life of a repressed suburban housewife.

I'd never heard of the book--most 20th century literary fiction isn't really my thing--but I was so impressed by this chapter I purchased the book that very week, and I was gripped from the first line:

"Her first name was India-she was never able to get used to it."

These books are funny but also sad. Occasionally downright dark. Thoughtful. And impeccably written. What else can I say? It's difficult to make a book about a suburban housewife sound like a must-read. But I adore this book. I might just have to go read it again...

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