Home > Reviews > Bridges of Madison County – James Waller

Bridges of Madison County – James Waller

On her 67th birthday Francesca stares at an old photograph of her. What had happened twenty two years back, in hot summary days of 1965 flashes in her mind. A lean, free-spirited photographer named Robert Kincaid drives into Madison County, Iowa. He has been commissioned to photograph the covered bridges in the vicinity. Unable to locate them, he pulls into a farm to ask directions. The woman he finds there is alone, her husband and teenage children off at a state fair for the week. She is Francesca Johnson, an Italian war bride, 45 years old. She guides him to a nearby bridge, and afterward invites him for iced tea and then supper. He talks of poetry, art, and their mass-marketing enemies. The dreamy Neapolitan girl in the dutiful, bored farm wife awakens. She invites him back for supper the next night, and with the help of a little brandy they are soon on their way to the mystical intimations of destiny and ecstatic oneness that lovers have been known to reach. Francesca and Kincaid spent four days together, dancing in the kitchen floor, drinking beer and smoking Camel, and making love. At the end of the fourth day Kincaid request her to come along with him. She denies and explains her responsibility to Johnson and two kids. The two lives the rest of the life without much contact with each other, cherishing the memories of the true love they had in the four days of summer of 1965.  

Waller tells their story as though it were nonfiction, claiming to have heard about Francesca from her children after her death, read her journals, seen Robert’s relics of those four days and interviewed a jazz musician who knew the photographer. 164 weeks bestseller par with any Indian B class masala novel.

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