243. Alexander's Bridge by Willa Cather

Alexander's Bridge by Willa Cather
Art of the Novella

Rating: (3/5)

(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)

1912, Melville House, 116 pgs

Age: 18+

"Bartley Alexander, renowned engineer of bridges, is a man with a past who “looked as a tamer of rivers ought to look.” Discovered by his mentor “sowing wild oats in London,” he returned to America and the commission that made his name. Now, married to his wife of ten years, a chance encounter with actress Hilda Burgoyne, an almost forgotten love from his past, prompts a doomed attempt to recapture the boundlessness of his youth."

Purchased a new copy from the publisher's book club.

This is a perfect example of why I love being in this bookclub;  I finally get to read an author who has been on my tbr list for ever!  I was thrilled to sit down and read this, Cather's first book.  The writing has a natural, beautiful flow and the book was easy to read.  The plot is quite simple, one of a man having an affair and the tortures it brings to all concerned.  It is a story of overwhelming love, the wife for the husband, the mistress for the husband, the husband for the wife and the husband for his youth.  The mistress brings the husband his youth and he feels joy with her, meaning her no harm but his love is obviously not as obsessive as hers is for him.  This brings him deep guilt for what he is doing to both his wife and his mistress.  I have no sympathy for adulterers and in the end I feel he hurts them both by his actions.  The mistress being equally at fault for her own hurt and in the end Alexander receives his divine justice whilst leaving both women a little scarred for having known him.  I can't say the topic was my favourite; I'm not exactly into love triangles and I've always been interested in reading Cather because of her pioneer fiction which is a theme I am greatly interested in.  However, I found the book entirely readable and the writing superb and am confident that I must get to O Pioneers! in the not too distant future.


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