The Bridges of Madison County …a review

Robert James Waller is an author I’d never heard of before. Love stories which are also bestsellers do not interest me. Yet I read this book a couple of years ago because it was recommended to me. I have never been the same again. A one-of-a-kind tale, one that I have trouble believing is fiction, has moved me and many others all over the world. It is the story of four days and seven bridges in Madison County, Iowa, that bring together a National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid and middle-aged Francesca Johnson.

Everything about this book is magical. The way characters have been brought to life, the kind of poetic language that has been used, both the tender and practical ways that love has been spoken about… It is a love story greater than Romeo & Juliet (yes, that’s what I said) because when you can’t have the love of your life, you can’t just kill yourself and take the easy way out. In the real world, there are choices and decisions that Francesca must take, there are lives of her husband and children that she must consider, and know forever that Kincaid is the one. Will she run? Or, will she stay?

The four days that will form their eternity have brought tears to my eyes every time I’ve read the book, and surely I must have about 15-20 times. The movie (Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep) doesn’t even begin to capture the slightest nuance of the book. It is a must read, one is not complete in this lifetime if one hasn’t read this book.

Quote: With her face buried in his neck and her skin against his, she could smell rivers and woodsmoke, could hear steaming trains chuffing out of winter stations in long-ago nighttimes, could see travellers in black robes moving steadily along frozen rivers and summer meadows, beatind their way toward the end of things. The leopard swept over her, again and again and yet again, like a long prairie wind , and rolling beneath him, she rode on that wind like some temple virgin toward the sweet, compliant fires marking the soft curve of oblivion.

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