“[God] had designed the cosmos and throw its doors open to man, and man had moved in and begun a life there. But God could no more step inside and rearrange that life than an architect could rearrange the lives of a building’s inhabitants. The world was their place now. They would use it in their fashion, live or die by their own actions.”
What it’s about: The Invisible Bridge details the life of Andras Levi, an Hungarian student who travels from Budapest to Paris to study architecture in 1939. Optimistic, lively, and determined, Andras develops relationships with other students, tackles architecture with eagerness, and falls in love. But as the threat of war looms over Europe, Levi’s days as a Jewish student are cut short, and he becomes part of the turmoil that swept eastern Europe in the 1940’s.
Why I liked it: I can honestly say that The Invisible Bridge is one of the best books I have read in my life. Julie Orringer is a true master (and relatively new, to boot!), and this hefty novel read like the best of Tolstoy. There were so many moments where I felt overwhelmed by the perfection of a sentence or the accuracy of a description of a simple object. Beautiful, thoughtful, realistic, and moving, I felt completely caught up in the reality of Andras’ life. It’s a bit of a longer read (600 pages), but it’s a true masterpiece of World War II fiction, and brings to light an area of the war that is often overlooked. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read real craft, and be swept away in 1940’s Hungary while doing it.
Read if you liked:
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver