The Bridges of Madison County
|The Bridges of Madison County|
|Author(s)||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.
Publication history 
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.
Film adaptation 
- 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
- Study of reader response to the novel
- 20th-Century American Bestsellers entry
- Analysis of The Bridges of Madison County on Lit React
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