The Bridges of Madison County

Last night I picked up this book for my bed-time reading, and didn’t put it down until 2 hours later when I had finished. Towards the last 50 or so pages quiet tears streamed down my face. Not the openly sobs and the teary mess of Krauss’s The History of Love and Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, nor the agony and heartbreak and pain I had for months after Murakami’s South of the Border, but the really quiet tears I wasn’t even myself aware of.

The story was simple. The language was simple. Yet it was magic, and music, and beauty, and songs that make you feel like, ‘in the indifferent spaces of your heart, you may even find room to dance again’.

Lifted directly from the back cover of the book, this will give you glimpses of why readers all over the world have been so moved by a small, unknown first novel that they made it a publishing phenomenon:

The story of Robert Kincaid, a photographer searching for the covered bridges of Madison County, and Francesca Johnson, a farm wife waiting for the fulfilment of a girlhood dream, shows us what it is to love and be loved so intensely that life is never the same again. 

As I lay awake, I thought of the four days Robert and Francesca had, and the twenty-two years it took until they finally, in a way, found each other. I didn’t, and still don’t, feel sorry for them. True as Robert wrote to Francesca: ‘Instead I am grateful for having at least found you. We could have flashed by one another like two pieces of cosmic dust’.

‘God or the universe or whatever one chooses to label the great systems of balance and order does not recognise Earth-time. To the universe, four days is no different than four billion light years. I try to keep that in mind.

But, I am, after all, a man. And all the philosophic rationalisations I can conjure up do not keep me from wanting you, every day, every moment, the merciless wail of time, of time I can never spend with you, deep within my head.’ 

I’ll leave you at that. I’m just glad I picked it up. 



April said...

I have never seen the movie or read the book! I will check it out!

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