The Invisible Bridge
Knopf, May 4 2010, $24.95
In 1937 Hungarian-Jew Andras Levi leaves his home town to attend architectural school on a scholarship to the Ecole Speciale d'Architecture in Paris. He also carries a letter from Hungary to ballet teacher Claire Morgenstern, a decade older than the newcomer. At the same he arrives in Paris, his older brother studies medicine in Modena and his younger brother drops out of school to perform on the stage.
As Andras' second summer in Paris ends, the Nazis begin turning the continent into a war zone; however his thoughts are on the older woman he loves and his fears for the safety of his family especially his brothers. He knows back in Hungary the cautious government holds up its agreement with Hitler by moving the Jews into hard labor camps. However Hitler wants more and the Hungarians comply.
This is a deep historical that focuses on the question whether love can thrive during horrific inhumane times like the Holocaust. Character driven, by the siblings and Claire, readers will feel for the lead players as each struggles to understand why the Nazi Final Solution is needed and why the collaborators who in many instances did not have even a life threatening reason to turn in an neighbor they knew and befriended for years. This is not an easy read as Julie Orringer paints a grim landscape filled with atrocities, but sadly as the author notes there are even darker true tales than that of The Invisible Bridge of inhumanity’s genocides.