I’ll cut right to the chase: The Invisible Bridge is a wonderful, captivating read, intimate and grand at the same time. This first novel by San Francisco writer Julie Orringer, many years in the making and her second work after her acclaimed book of short stories, How to Breathe Underwater, takes readers to 1930s Budapest and Paris and into the lives of ex-pat Hungarian Jews. You might think not another word could be written about the Holocaust, but you would be wrong: This story has not been told, and it is a hell of a story.
I don’t want to say too much, because why give it away? Just know that it involves themes of loyalty, family and identity; that the main protagonists, while perhaps a wee bit too perfect, are nonetheless people you really care about; that it immerses you in the conflicted culture of Hungary, which struggled with maintaining its identity while allying itself with the Third Reich; and that even though we all know how the Holocaust ended for most European Jews, you don’t know how it will end for the Levi family and their compatriots. It’s 600 big pages, and if you like these kind of sweeping historical dramas, you’ll relish every page.