A BRIDGE OF LEAVES by Diana Cavallo


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A curious, loosely shaped novel is concerned not so much with story, and characters, as with the semblances and changes of people in a changing time. People and prose are perfectly distinct, as are the fragments of their life stories, and they are reworked into the reminiscent contemplations of a young man, David. As a child, David has been haunted (or inhabited) by another self, his dead twin Michael, and by an equally close but live relationship with his grandmother. Her death shocks him and leaves him with a sense of incompleteness, her photograph, and her furniture. In college he regains a twin, first through an ideal friendship with Phil Richter, then in a love affair with a young actress, Laura. But Phil loses his identity in his love for a girl, Connic, and Laura, always intensely immersed in her roles, finally loses her self too. David discovers her, catatonic, schizophrenic, frozen before a triple mirror and follows her from the world of actors into the (as an attendant). All these symbols of pictures, mirrors, roles, twin-ness, enter the story simply and naturally; if anything, they are perhaps not pivotal or conclusive enough. It is all sombre, thoughtful, with many real and lovely passages densely worked into a pattern: a mind's complex appraisal of life, and only in moments, life itself.

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 1961
Publisher: Atheneum