Bridge of Sighs, the book, is full of symbolism (just like the real thing) and this book has multiple layers that make up the lives of several families in a small town in upstate New York, an area full of bridges (literally). If you are from a small town, or are a member of some sort of small community, be it a family, school, church, or even a company, you can probably relate to the social and power structures of these, as Russo brings forth in his novel. Russo narrates the book from the point of view of two boys who grow through the years into two men. Two of the best paragraphs that Russo wrote are from a chapter entitled “Division Street.” Russo addressed the fact that many towns have streets named Main, and some even have a street named Division, which was probably named so because the road split the town into two parts. Following are these powerful paragraphs:
But at some point all of that changes. Doubt, born of disappointment and repetition, replaces curiosity. In our weariness we begin to sense the truth, that more doors have closed behind than remain ahead, and for the first time we’re tempted to swing the telescope around and peer at the world through the wrong end–-though who can say it’s wrong? How different things look then! Larger patterns emerge, individual decisions receding into insignificance. To see a life back to front, as everyone begins to do in middle age, is to strip it of its mystery and wrap it in inevitability, drama’s enemy. Or so it sometimes seems to me, Louis Charles Lynch. The man I’ve become, the life I’ve lived, what are these but dominoes that fall not as I would have them but simply as they must?
─Russo, Richard. Bridge of Sighs. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007, p. 129-130.