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The Invisible Bridge    by Julie Orringer order for
Invisible Bridge
by Julie Orringer
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2011 (2010)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

In The Invisible Bridge Julie Orringer has given us a big novel, written from the heart. Set in the time leading up to World War II, it shows the political and social events of that time from a Hungarian point of view.

Three Jewish brothers, who are just reaching adulthood, meet their destiny in a world gone mad. The youngest goes missing in action. The eldest finds his medical studies interrupted, yet must make constant use of what little he knows to help the wounded he encounters everywhere he goes. And the middle son, Andras, finds love in Paris, only to learn how fraught with danger such a love can be, especially when its secrets bring disaster to his love's family.

Much of Andras' story takes place in war-time Hungary, a dark contrast to the exquisite time of love and satisfying study in Paris. Forced labor camps, hunger and extreme separation from loved ones cannot break down the human spirit, and pretty soon Andras and his comrade Mendel set up an underground newspaper, which of course gets them into deep trouble.

Orringer manages this vast canvas very well, writing beautifully about many characters. Even though she doesn't go deep into their lives, they stand out in your memory because they are so well-drawn. This is a first-time novel to treasure, and I can hardly wait for her next work.

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