A Thousand Country Roads: An Epilogue to the Bridges of Madison County

A Thousand Country Roads: An Epilogue to the Bridges of Madison County

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by Robert James Waller, Jim Bond
     
 

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At last, the rest of the story

Epilogue: A concluding part added to a literary work.

Ten years and twelve million copies after the first printing of The Bridges of Madison County, Robert James Waller brings to a poignant conclusion his story of the love affair between a wandering photographer and the conventional wife of an Iowa farmer.

Overview

At last, the rest of the story

Epilogue: A concluding part added to a literary work.

Ten years and twelve million copies after the first printing of The Bridges of Madison County, Robert James Waller brings to a poignant conclusion his story of the love affair between a wandering photographer and the conventional wife of an Iowa farmer.

In A Thousand Country Roads, Robert Kincaid initially finds himself with little but memories of a lonely existence lived mostly on the road and memories of Francesca Johnson, the woman whose passion he stirred so briefly and with such power.

So, with his memories pushing him, searching for something undefined, something to give meaning to the rest of his life, Kincaid takes to the road again in what becomes a journey of discovery and surprise.

With his dog Highway beside him in an old truck named Harry, Kincaid begins a long winding run back to Roseman Bridge in Madison County, Iowa, returning to the place of his great love affair.

Living her own solitary life, Francesca still visits Roseman Bridge and reflects on her days and nights with Robert Kincaid. Cherishing the memory of the strange, wandering man who changed her world, she vows to search for him.

On the expedition he calls Last Time, Kincaid wanders through Oregon, northern California, eastward to the Dakotas, and on to Iowa. Along the way, a chance encounter with a woman from his distant past reveals another dimension of his life he could not have imagined.

Finally, in a Seattle bar called Shorty's, where saxophonist Nighthawk Cummings still plays on Tuesday nights, Kincaid turns in his chair, looking inward and outward at the same time, and smiles at what he sees sitting before him.

And so it comes, the ultimate loner finds he is not as alone as he once believed.

There was something about this man that was out of the ordinary, something almost familiar about him.

Sunlight angled down and caught the right side of his face, caught the long gray hair parted in the middle and brushed back along the top and sides. The sea wind came and blew his hair, and he reached to push it back from his face, pulled an orange suspender higher on his shoulder, adjusted the leather Swiss Army knife case on his belt. The sun passed behind a cloud, and he fell into shadow for a few seconds before sunlight again came on him. She experienced an involuntary shudder and had a powerful urge to walk outside and talk with the man.

And later: He was glad he had come. It had not been a mistake. Here, in the old bridge, he felt a kind of serenity, and he bathed in the feeling and came quiet within himself. At that moment, he knew this place would be his home ground, the place where his ashes would someday drift out over Middle River. He hoped some of his dust would become one with the bridge and the land, and that some might wash far downstream and into larger rivers and then into all the seas he had crossed on crowded troop ships or night jets to somewhere.

—From A Thousand Country Roads

Author Biography: Robert James Waller grew up in the small town of Rockford, Iowa, and was educated at the University of Northern Iowa and Indiana University. He was for many years a professor at his Iowa alma mater, where he also served as Dean of the College of Business from 1979 to 1986. He lives on a remote ranch in the high desert mountains of Texas and pursues his interests in writing, photography, music, economics and mathematics. This is his tenth book.

Editorial Reviews

Rochelle O'Gorman
Ten years after the publication of The Bridges of Madison County, which in 1995 beat out Gone With the Wind as the bestselling hardcover novel of all time, Waller returns with an "epilogue" that details the last years of star-crossed lovers Francesca Johnson and Robert Kincaid. Narrated by Jim Bond, the book picks up sixteen years after the couple's last meeting, when Francesca is a widow and Robert, whose health is failing, decides to take one last road trip. During the course of his fateful journey, Robert unearths a secret that changes the remainder of his life.
Library Journal
Waller continues his paean to adultery (it's okay if you're bored with your marriage and really love the other person) in this epilog to The Bridges of Madison County. We pick up the ever-introspective, self-consciously sensitive Robert Kincaid in his twilight years as he is beginning to feel his age and he finds himself alone with only his memories, his dog, and an ever-increasing number of chest pains. He longs for Francesca Johnson and the Roseman Bridge, but of course he's just too noble or stupid to pick up the phone and give her a jingle. So...he begins a winding journey through California, Oregon, the Dakotas, and finally into Iowa in his old beat-up green truck. After a series of hilarious coincidences, he discovers that he isn't as alone as he thought. Waller is a gifted writer in many ways, with a deft turn of phrase and a keen sense of setting. Narrator Jim Bond does a good job with this poignant story, but while the tale itself deals with the powerful subjects of love, aging, loneliness, and death, it is rather slight. Be warned that the overt sentimentality will either make you cry or gag, depending on your mindset. Guardedly recommended for libraries where Bridges was popular, i.e., all libraries.-Barbara A. Perkins, Irving P.L., TX Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781593550899
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
05/01/2003
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
4.24(w) x 7.34(h) x 1.45(d)

Read an Excerpt

In the cabin Robert Kincaid took a knapsack from its place on the closet shelf and grabbed a scarred Gitzo tripod leaning against the back closet wall, behind the four shirts hanging there. Scrounging around on the closet floor, he found a black wool turtleneck sweater he had bought in Ireland years ago and draped the sweater over the Gitzo. His photographer's vest swung from a hanger. He took it down and slipped into it. From the kitchen cupboard, he loaded cameras and accessories into the knapsack, neatly packing each in its place. He still had forty-three rolls of Tri-X black-and-white film in a drawer, the rolls scattered over the face of a plaque from a prestigious photography magazine: TO ROBERT L. KINCAID

IN RECOGNITION
OF A LIFETIME OF EXCELLENCE
IN THE PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTS
Animus non integritatem sed facinus cupit The heart wills not purity but adventure

He scooped the film into a plastic grocery bag, looked around, slung the tripod and sweater over one shoulder and the knapsack over the other. Locking the cabin, he was careful not to let the screen door slam as he closed it. Back in the truck. "Ready, dog?" he asked and started the engine. "Let's go see what we might have missed along the way."


Meet the Author

Robert James Waller is a writer, photographer, and musician. He is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers, The Bridges of Madison County and A Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend. Born in England, and educated at Oxford, Waller now lives in Texas.

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