A man. A woman. The heat of an Iowa summer. And the brief encounter whose passion will last a lifetime.
When Robert Kincaid drives through the heat and dust of an Iowa summer and turns into Francesca Johnson's farm lane looking for directions, the world-class photographer and the Iowa farm wife are joined in an experience of uncommon truth and stunning beauty that will haunt them forever.
Publishing date: November 2013 (for the current Kindle edition; the first print edition is from 1992)
Mature content: yes, though not graphical
Review: I had this book on my reading list for a long time but put off reading it for a long time too, mostly because I already knew the story, from having seen the movie when it first came out. Still, I always say that books are better than movies, and The Bridges of Madison County is no exception. It is beautifully written and, like the movie, it made my smile and it made me cry. Yes, it's true that there is adultery involved, and somehow the book doesn't ever allow you to forget it. But more than the form the story takes, what I like in The Bridges of Madison County is the idea that you can't escape fate (Robert and Francesca's fate was to meet and fall in love), but that our lives are so much more than just fate and that we do have a saying in the way we live - Francesca and Robert had choices and made them. Were they the right ones? Maybe, maybe not, but the simple fact that they made and sticked by them is in itself a lesson. For that alone, this book is worth reading.
Here are some of my favorite passages from the book:
"And she would begin to turn in her mind, breathing heavier, letting him take her where he lived, and he lived in strange, haunted places, far back along the stems of Darwin's logic."
"Words have physical feeling, not just meaning, he remembered thinking when he was young."
"Eventually he began to see that light was what he photographed, not objects. The objects merely were the vehicles for reflecting the light. If the light was good, you could always find something to photograph."
"I am the highway and a peregrine and all the sails that ever went to sea."
The Bridges of Madison County started out as a stand-alone book, but it is now a trilogy, with A Thousand Country Roads published in 2002 and High Plains Tango published in 2005. I haven't read any of these books yet, but I'm pretty sure I will someday.