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Extended Audio Sample Bridge of Sighs Audiobook, by Richard Russo Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (11,327 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Russo Narrator: Arthur Morey Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2007 ISBN: 9780739318904
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Six years after the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize–winning Empire Falls, Richard Russo returns with a novel that expands even further his widely heralded achievement.

Louis Charles (“Lucy”) Lynch has spent all his sixty years in upstate Thomaston, New York, married to the same woman, Sarah, for forty of them, their son now a grown man. Like his late, beloved father, Lucy is an optimist, though he’s had plenty of reasons not to be—chief among them his mother, still indomitably alive. Yet it was her shrewdness, combined with that Lynch optimism, that had propelled them years ago to the right side of the tracks and created an “empire” of convenience stores about to be passed on to the next generation.

Lucy and Sarah are also preparing for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy, where his oldest friend, a renowned painter, has exiled himself far from anything they’d known in childhood. In fact, the exact nature of their friendship is one of the many mysteries Lucy hopes to untangle in the “history” he’s writing of his hometown and family. And with his story interspersed with that of Noonan, the native son who’d fled so long ago, the destinies building up around both of them (and Sarah, too) are relentless, constantly surprising, and utterly revealing.

Bridge of Sighs is classic Russo, coursing with small-town rhythms and the claims of family, yet it is brilliantly enlarged by an expatriate whose motivations and experiences—often contrary, sometimes not—prove every bit as mesmerizing as they resonate through these richly different lives. Here is a town, as well as a world, defined by magnificent and nearly devastating contradictions.  Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Russo's attention to the currents of friendship and family life, the conflicts, anxieties and irritations that mingle with affection and loyalty, make Bridge of Sighs a continual flow of little revelations . . . a story of constantly evolving complexity and depth . . . It's Russo's most intricate, multifaceted novel . . . enormous and enormously moving. Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World
  • A great American story . . . Beautiful, funny, profound and, in the end, quietly devastating. It's a book built to endure. Kyle Smith, People (4 stars)
  • Russo makes sexual ambiguity feel homey and familiar, and he does it here with consequences more emotionally weighty than ever before. His novels have that pleasurable roominess of books rich in story and quick in prose style, but in Bridge of Sighs, he crosses from bittersweet comedy to the realm of tragedy. Vince Passaro, O Magazine
  • His most ambitious and best work. Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today
  • Engrossing . . . Russo writes about [his] characters--their fistfights, bar nights, secret kisses, self-delusions--with such warmth that, whether it turns out to be a hellhole or heaven on earth, you're grateful to be back on his turf. Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly
  • A novel of great warmth, charm and intimacy . . . richly evocative and beautifully wrought. Janet Maslin, New York Times
  • [A] magnificent, bighearted new novel [and] an astounding achievement . . . From its lovely beginning to its exquisite, perfect end, Russo has written a masterpiece. Mameve Medwed, Boston Sunday Globe
  • A winning story of the strange ways that parents and children, lovers and friends connect and thrive. Henry L. Carrigan, Jr., Library Journal
  • Nobody now writing rivals Russo at untangling the knots of family connection, love and sexuality, ambition and compromise, fidelity and betrayal that link and afflict a formidable gallery of vividly observed, generously portrayed characters . . . A wise, uplifting book: a big-hearted, often comic, yet sturdily realistic testament to the resiliency of ordinary people who surprise us, and themselves, by coping, rebuilding and moving on. Rich, confounding and absorbing--utterly irresistable. Kirkus, starred review
  • Here is the novel Russo was born to write . . . Coursing with humor and humanity . . . it is a seamless interweaving of childhood memories, tragic incidents, and unforgettable dialogue. Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
  • From the first page, when narrator Lou C. "Lucy" Lynch begins to speak, readers will be drawn so completely into Russo's world that putting the book down each time feels like a shock. Kirkus
  • [A] splendid chronicle . . . Russo has a deep and real understanding of stifled ambitions and the secrets people keep, sometimes forever. Bridge of Sighs, on every page, is largehearted, vividly populated and filled with life from America's recent, still vanishing past. Jeffrey Frank, Publishers Weekly, signature review
  • One of the 2007 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Theresa | 2/19/2014

    " A wonderful novel. Beautifully written and completely engaging. Who would have thought that you could grow to love such a totally unremarkable character as Lou C. (aka "Lucy") Lynch -- a genial, simple-minded, home-loving convenience store owner who had his father's goofy smile and overly-optimistic view of life? Chapter by chapter, Russo reveals Lucy's story with intricate detail, charm and depth. I was sorry to be done with this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lis | 2/18/2014

    " I only recently started reading Richard Russo's books - this is the third I have read. (after Elsewhere and Nobody's Fool). He manages to make all his characters very individual and the writing is excellent. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dana | 2/17/2014

    " Well narrated on audio. Similar in style to Empire Falls but not quite as good. Reflections on small town life and the universal themes in it that relate to all of us. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet S | 2/12/2014

    " I've read every Richard Russo book except one. Bridge of Sighs is not among his best. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Deidre | 2/9/2014

    " I couldn't get past the first 50 pages. Perhaps it's where I am, perhaps it's just that reading about the angsty lives of failed American males in mid-life crisis is not interesting to me, but for whatever reason, Russo didn't draw me in to this novel. Hard for me to understand how Russo's notes can ring so clearly with Empire Falls and Straight Man, but miss in another moment. I think I just didn't feel like I was the audience for this book. Others, I concede, may love it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nick Duretta | 2/8/2014

    " Russo has become one of my favorite novelists, so I'm slowly going back and reading novels of his I've missed. This is a big, sweeping tale of two men who grow up in a small upstate New York town and whose lives--through family problems, love affairs, childhood travails and the big questions of life and love--are inextricably entwined, even more than they realize. You come to thoroughly know and love these two, as well as their extended circle of friends and family. This is not a plot-driven novel; it's a character study, and a long one at that, but worth sticking out to the end. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pedro | 2/1/2014

    " I never felt very engaged with the characters. I wanted more of Bobby and Sarah but less of Lucy. I love Russo's work, and I expected something close to the quality of "Empire Falls" or "Straight Man". Too much time was spent on uninteresting characters in my opinion. The flow of the narrative was smooth as I never felt he lingered or beat to death a particular subject or time. The relationship between Lou & his mother was very interesting and made me consider the family relations I experience and how much undercurrent there is where emotions lie and feelings are not expressed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marybeth | 1/23/2014

    " This guy is the real deal...he can write about small town living like nobody's business. If you grew up in a little town like I did, with the corner stores and everybody knew everyone else's business, you can identify with this book. Captivating characters that you really felt like you knew as the story rolls on. Richard Russo is now officially one of my new favorite authors that somehow I've missed reading for years and years. I'll be rectifying that mistake here very soon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maureen | 1/16/2014

    " Maybe not his best but thought-provoking, "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Molly | 1/11/2014

    " What I love about Richard Russo is that he writes stories about really simple people, but he makes them so compelling. I really enjoyed this one--it definitely resonated for me being from a small town. It's so fascinating how much our paths are affected by where we come from. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Natalie | 1/9/2014

    " Not nearly as good as Empire Falls. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Abby | 12/28/2013

    " I read this while I was traveling and it made me homesick for a place I'm not even from. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 12/28/2013

    " A big sweeping book that takes place (in part, at least) somewhere other than upstate New York. (Hint: It's Venice. The bridge and the canal give it away. Oh, wait. SPOILER ALERT. Sorry about that.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah T. | 12/28/2013

    " I always enjoy his books and characters. It feels like I move to NY state each time. Good to leave time between the books because they are similar. Not as good as Empire Falls but I still enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol Swink | 12/20/2013

    " Musings on the characters of a small town; those that left and those that chose to stay. The story moves between the past and present and sometimes it takes a few lines to place the character and time at the beginning of a chapter. I think it could have been shorter. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janie Hetherington | 11/7/2013

    " not as good as empire falls "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peggy Donnelly | 10/31/2013

    " Hilarious and he did an excellent job of getting into the characters' heads. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marthar314 | 5/10/2013

    " I liked this book. Not a easy read but worth it. Not alot of action but a great account of this man's life. Awesome character development - really got to know the people. Like this author and will read more. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sherry | 1/16/2013

    " I loved it up until about page 400. Had it been 200 pages shorter, I would have given it a 5, but Russo lost me at about page 450. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phemie London | 6/24/2012

    " Richard Russo's novels have excellent character development. They are set in small New England towns. Very good reads- hard to put down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dianne Merridith | 6/5/2012

    " Wonderful story of ordinary people in a small town in upper state New York. The Venice sections had less impact. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darlene | 5/17/2012

    " A rather long but heartwarming story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Ellen | 2/16/2012

    " This book reminded me of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I loved the writing style. Didn't want the book to end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meredith Kendall | 1/21/2012

    " I learned so much: laughed & cried. Thank you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mackay | 11/13/2011

    " Enjoyable book for a leisurely read. I loved spending time with these people, even though (or because of?) they frustrated me and maddened me the way good friends can. A sweet, kind book that still shows real life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine Woodman | 8/10/2011

    " This book is classic Richard Russo--complex characters who are well-developed and an intricately interwoven plot line that goes nowhere, but builds a fabric of inter-relatedness amongst the characters. Much like life, but better fleshed out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mieka | 7/30/2011

    " Richard Russo, local author, never disappoints his reader. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Larry | 6/2/2011

    " I had a hard time getting into this book, it seemed to go on and on without purpose. But by the end it had taught me a very poignant lesson about the effects of the choices we make in life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 5/13/2011

    " This is quite a spectacular book. It's the long story of Lou C. Lynch (nicknamed Lucy) who spends his life in a small upstate NY town. Russo draws in and intrigues the reader with the characters and actions of the very believable family stories in this town. This book will stay with me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 5/12/2011

    " Quite possibly my favorite novel of the last five years. I didn't want it to end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pat | 5/6/2011

    " I think Paul Auster and Richard Russo colluded and wote novels with thye theme: "Boy, you think you've got problems!" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill | 5/4/2011

    " As always with Russo, a captivating read
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 5/3/2011

    " I enjoy this author's writing style plus the fact that his stories take place in the Northeast, not far from where I grew up. I can relate to the subject matter, especially the economic decline of some of the cities and towns in upper and western NY state. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Trudy | 5/2/2011

    " Really enjoyed this novel. I cared about the characters and rooted for relationships. Noonan really is a character rich with contradictions and moral dilemmas. I was sad when I finished it and found it hard to get into the next book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Filipa | 4/27/2011

    " Lembro-me que gostei do livro e fiquei com uma opinião bastante positiva acerca do livro e da escrita do autor. Do enredo, das personagens e da evolução das mesmas.
    Já não me recordo de todos os pormenores da história, mas fica uma boa lembrança. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bobby | 4/14/2011

    " not my favorite Russo, but beautiful nonetheless. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 4/8/2011

    " Not quite as great as some of my favorite Russo novels but still pretty good! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valerie | 4/3/2011

    " I really liked it, but I kind of wish it had ended differently. The end was anti-climactic, and after sticking it out for 600+ pages, I was expecting something moving. "

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About the Author
Author Richard Russo

Richard Russo is the author of eight novels, two short-story collections, and the memoir Elsewhere. In 2002 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls which, like Nobody’s Fool, was adapted to film, in a multiple-award-winning HBO miniseries.

About the Narrator

Arthur Morey has won three AudioFile Magazine “Best Of” Awards: in 2011 for Biography and History, in for History and Historical Fiction, and in 2009 for Nonfiction and Culture. His work has also garnered twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, and he has been nominated for an Audie Award. He graduated from Harvard and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has won awards for his fiction and drama, worked as an editor with several book publishers, and taught literature and writing at Northwestern University. As a narrator, he has received nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award.