Evan S. Connell's Mrs Bridge is an extraordinary tragicomic portrayal of suburban life and one of the classic American novels of the twentieth century.
Mrs Bridge, an unremarkable and conservative housewife in Kansas City, has three children and a kindly lawyer husband. She spends her time shopping, going to bridge parties and bringing up her children to be pleasant, clean and have nice manners. And yet she finds modern life increasingly baffling, her children aren't growing up into the people she expected, and sometimes she has the vague disquieting sensation that all is not well in her life. In a series of comic, telling vignettes, Evan S. Connell illuminates the narrow morality, confusion, futility and even terror at the heart of a life of plenty.
The companion novel Mr Bridge, telling the story from the other side of the marriage, is also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
'A perfect novel ... Its tone - knowing, droll, plaintive, shuttling rapidly between pain and hilarity - elevates it to its own kind of specialness ... One of those books that can suffuse a room with happiness when someone brings it up' Meg Wulitzer, The New York Times
'Intimate ... affecting ... a very funny book' Joshua Ferris
Evan S. Connell was born in Kansas City in 1924. He served in the US navy in the second world war and lived briefly in Paris before returning to the US, where he wrote and supported himself with odd jobs. His incredibly varied books range from long experimental poems to a best-selling biography of General Custer, but he will be remembered above all for his two undisputed masterpieces about middle-class, suburban American life: Mrs Bridge and Mr Bridge. In 2009, he was nominated for the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement, and in 2010, he was awarded a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Evan S. Connell died in New Mexico on 10th January 2013, aged 88. Joshua Ferris was born in Chicago in 1975. His first novel, Then We Came to the End (2007), won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, was a National Book Award Finalist and was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel is The Unnamed (2010), and his fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta and Tin House, among other publications. He lives in New York.