Louis Charles “Lucy” Lynch has spent his whole life in Thomaston, a small town in upstate New York. He’s married to Sarah, the girl he fell in love with in high school, owns and operates three convenience stores, including the corner grocery he inherited from his parents, and is perfectly content with his well-established routines and the familiar rhythms of Thomaston. At the age of sixty, as he and Sarah plan their first-ever trip away from home, he looks back on his life, weaving memories into a history of his family and his town. He writes about his outgoing father, who believed fully in the American Dream and loved him unconditionally, and about his critical but caring mother, whose realistic view of life provided the necessary balance to his father’s naïveté and idealism. His descriptions of his childhood—first in the poorest section of Thomaston and later in the lower middle-class neighborhood where his father buys a modest home and a failing store—capture the small humiliations (like the acquisition of the nickname “Lucy”) and larger terrors of a lonely boy bullied by neighborhood toughs.
As Lucy reminisces, his thoughts inevitably turn to Bobby Marconi. Bobby is Lucy’s oldest friend; in high school, Sarah, Lucy, and Bobby hung out together at the Lynch’s store, an almost inseparable threesome. But Bobby had troubles that no amount of friendship could solve, and at eighteen he fled Thomaston forever. He’s changed his name to Robert Noonan and is now a world-renowned artist living in Venice. After years of sending newsy letters to him and receiving only minimal acknowledgment, Sarah and Lucy are planning to visit him on their trip. For all three, there are not only ties to rebind, but also questions to resolve.
Bridge of Sighs