The Invisible Bridge

The Invisible Bridge is the first novel written by Julie Orringer. Published in May 2010, it is a marvelous achievement. The author of the novel has that rare talent that makes a 600-page story very readable, even at its grimmest. Building vivid worlds in effortless phrases, she takes us in 1930s Budapest just as a young Hungarian Jew, Andras Lévi, departs for the École 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.

The World War II and the Holocaust have been covered so extensively in many formats, and yet there are so many under represented stories. This book takes up one of these side stories, the story of Jews in Hungary, and brings the day-to-day realities of the war to life just to touch you in the way, only a personal story can.

The brilliance of Orringer's novel is the tender and poignant testimony of the human spirit, the fragile structure of a human being standing against the barbaric forces of history. As I said before, it is a touching story of the power of love, the foundation of life which withstands the horror and tragedy, grief and despair of war.


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