‘The Bridges of Madison County’, written by Robert James Waller, has always been one of my favourite books. Some time back, I started reading it again (actually, re-reading it again). But this time as I turned the pages, just one thought kept running in my head–this is not extraordinary! I wondered what had made me feel this book was so special. Probably I had become a cynic. Probably, as Robert Kincaid says, analysis had destroyed the magic.
Then came the day–in the story–when Robert Kincaid parted ways with Francesca Johnson, but in a geographical sense only. That was when my tears started to flow, and did not stop till the last letter of the last word of the last chapter. And I realized that the romantic in me is still alive.
It’s not really the story that holds us, not even the characters by themselves. It’s the words. The book is almost a poem in prose. The descriptions, the dialogues are beautifully poignant. In the end, they are what stayed with me and will compel me to read the book again, and I will once again forget about the disappointing beginning and the mediocre portions.
My favorite phrases from this book:
“I am the highway and a peregrine and all the sails that ever went to sea.”
“I live with dust on my heart”
“The old dreams were good dreams; they didn’t work out, but I’m glad I had them”
“Analysis destroys wholes. Some things, magic things, are meant to stay whole.”
“The reality is not exactly what the song started out to be, but it’s not a bad song.”
“I don’t like feeling sorry for myself”
“I love you, profoundly and completely. And I always will.”
‘There are songs that come free from the blue-eyed grass, from the dust of a thousand country roads’
“To ancient evenings and distant music”
“In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.”
“Complex things are easy to do. Simplicity is the real challenge.”
“.. and I play that tune for a man named Robert Kincaid and a woman he called Francesca.”