The Bridges of Madison County
|The Bridges of Madison County|
|Author||Robert James Waller|
|Publisher||Warner Books, Inc.|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|Dewey Decimal||813/.54 20|
|LC Classification||PS3573.A4347 B75 1992|
|Followed by||A Thousand Country Roads|
The Bridges of Madison County is a 1992 best-selling novel by Robert James Waller which tells the story of a married but lonely Italian woman, living in 1960s Madison County, Iowa, who engages in an affair with a National Geographic photographer from Bellingham, Washington who is visiting Madison County in order to create a photographic essay on the covered bridges in the area. The novel is presented as a novelization of a true story, but it is in fact entirely fictional. However, the author has stated in an interview that there are strong similarities between the main character and himself.
The novel is one of the bestselling books of the 20th century, with 50 million copies sold worldwide.
An epilogue entitled A Thousand Country Roads was published in 2002. It tells the remainder of the two main characters' story after their four-day affair. They never meet again, but their lives are interlocked until death.
The San Francisco Chronicle praised the novel as "lyrical..sensuous and sensitive..a tale of lasting love", while Entertainment Weekly called it "a short, poignant story, moving precisely because it has the ragged edges of reality".
Other reviewers criticized the novel as sentimental slush: featuring “contrived, unrealistic dialog,” and a “trite” storyline.
The book debuted on the New York Times bestseller list in August 1992, and slowly climbed to number 1 as the book  and remained on the list for over three years (164 consecutive weeks), through October 8, 1995.
The Bridges of Madison County currently has an average of 3.1 stars on Amazon.com, indicating mixed reviews.
The Bridges of Madison County has been adapted into a musical with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown and the book by Marsha Norman. The musical premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival on August 1, 2013. Directed by Bartlett Sher, the cast featured Elena Shaddow as Francesca and Steven Pasquale. The musical is expected to open on Broadway on January 17, 2014 (in previews) and officially on February 20, 2014 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with Kelli O'Hara as Francesca. Directed by Bartlett Sher, the sets are by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, and lighting by Donald Holder. Hunter Foster plays the role of Bud Johnson, the husband of Francesca.
- Transcript of interview with Robert James Waller at http://www.readinggroupguides.com/guides3/thousand_country_roads2.asp#bio, retrieved 4 Feb, 2008
- Love in Black and White, hardcover, Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992.
- Love in Black and White, paperback, Mandarin, 1993.
- Klepp, L.S. "BOOK REVIEW: The Bridges of Madison County" June 12, 1992.
- Lyall, Sarah (28 July 1993). Book Notes: A Big Year for 'Bridges', The New York Times
- (8 October 1995). Best Seller List, The New York Times
- Official site bridgesofmadisoncountymusical
- Hetrick, Adam. " 'The Bridges of Madison County', Starring Steven Pasquale and Elena Shaddow, Premieres at Williamstown" playbill.com, August 1, 2013
- Gioia, MIchael and Hetrick, Adam. "'The Bridges of Madison County' Will Open on Broadway One Week Earlier Than Expected" playbill.com, November 26, 2013
- Hetrick, Adam. "Hunter Foster Completes Love Triangle of Broadway Musical The Bridges of Madison County'" playbill.com, December 3, 2013