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

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

by Robert James Waller, Jim Bond (Read by)
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A Thousand Country Roads: An Epilogue to the Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller, Jim Bond

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593550905
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 05/01/2003
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.62(d)

About 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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A Thousand Country Roads: An Epilogue to the Bridges of Madison County 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
bertbutt More than 1 year ago
After reading the book and seeing the movie, I wanted MORE. This book gave me some closure. I highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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ALR More than 1 year ago
It was a good book. But it left me wanting more....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Bridges of Madison County' is one of the best romantic books that i have ever read .. and i picked up ' A Thousand Country Roads' only for its connection to 'Bridges ..' but as a reviewer has already mentioned, it is more of a story of an 'abandoned' son searching for his father.. with Francesca's story being mentioned parallely to this one ... I longed for the connection to be made, something that would lead the reader to heave a sigh of relief ... but instead found myself reading about Kincaid's other escapades .
Guest More than 1 year ago
The two books (I consider them as one) have become my favorite books (along with 'On the Beach' by Neville Shute). I was disappointed that Robert & Francesca were not reunited-they came so close at the bridge-but the his life was somewhat fulfilled by his unexpected find. (I am an unabashed romantic!!)
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I saw this 'epilogue', I wondered how a story that had ended could have a sequel. Roads fills in some time gaps and opens the door for yet another Waller novel, but there shouldn't have been a continuation to Bridges. Waller states he did not intend to write this book. If a sequel had been intended, opportunities for it would have been built into the original novel. Honestly, I wanted to see Kincaid and Francesca, after her children were out of the house and her obligation to raising them filled, find each other again, but it didn't happen in Bridges, so the hope of seeing in Roads was mute as well. I found several things in the book to be somewhat sadistic. Perhaps it is a love story, but a very sad one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I did enjoy the book.... however, like many, I did hope for some connection to Franseca. Knowing this would probably be impossible as 'Bridges' made it clear they did not meet again....I still yearned for it to happen. Then again...Im a hopeless romantic! :-)
Guest More than 1 year ago
A previous reviewer challenged fans of Bridges to read Bridges and A Thousand Country Roads next to Shade of the Maple by Kirk Martin. I agree with her ¿ Shade of the Maple is better than Bridges and Country Roads! Thought I would never say that, but it captures a depth of connection between two people in a way I have never seen before. Bridges is romantic, but Shade is intimate. With Bridges, you can get into the characters and feel what they are feeling, but they are outside of you. With Shade of the Maple, you are the characters, which ultimately makes it very powerful and even life-changing. Pick them all up, but don¿t miss Shade of the Maple. Wow!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for more of the love story between the main characters; there was none of that. I hoped they would at least have some connection. This is not a continuation of their story. It is a story about a boy seeking his long lost father.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book explores complex themes of loneliness, aging, and the path not taken with beauty and grace. I couldn't put it down. I ached for these characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Long before I picked it up, I knew it wasn't Sleepless in Seattle. Wasn't expecting any reunion and thoroughly enjoyed the construction of the story that filled in many of the blanks of Robert Kincaid. Through the eyes of son Carlisle, we get to understand some of the mystery and yet are still in possession of his four-day love story. No Hollywood ending, thankfully, but a delightful read that paces itself nicely. Like many, we would have liked to have seen a reunion, but it didn't happen. Perhaps in the next one, now that we have a connection to the mysterious Robert Kincaid.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We knew that Robert and Francesca had not met again since the four days; however, I expected the book to at least promote some emotional connection to 'Bridges of Madison County'. I enjoyed the beginning of the book and suddenly felt that, without any connective commitment, a portion of another manuscript was added at the last minute. The author admitted he wanted to write about Carlisle McMillan ...too bad he didn't do that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to buy A Thousand Country Roads. Simply had to find out 'the rest of the story.' I tore into this book and flipped page after page, but it seemed to lack the spark that Bridges had. I guess that was to be expected, but I still wanted more drama and to feel that same longing that consumed me in Bridges. I am glad that I picked up Country Roads, and I believe it was worth the time I spent reading even if the anticipation of receiving it was more fulfilling than the actual story. The best thing to come out of this was that I took a previous reviewer's challenge and read this novel next to Shade of the Maple, whose cover says it is 'the most intimate novel since The Bridges of Madison County.' I beg to differ. It is more intimate and better than Bridges. Heresy to some, I know, but find out for yourself. Plus the author is donating $1.00 from every sale to breast cancer research. If half the people who pick up A Thousand Country Roads also pick up that novel, we'd raise a lot of money, and I can guarantee a lot of people will have found a new favorite author. In summary, if you liked Bridges, you owe it to yourself to read A Thousand Country Roads.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so far from the 'can't put it down' interest of The Bridges of Madison County. It went back to very detailed information of Robert Kincaid's life, but nothing of substance about Francesca. I wish I had not wasted my time reading it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been waiting for Robert Waller to write this book forever. After staying up half the night to finish it, I'm happy to report that it was definitely worth the wait. We learn so much more about the mysterious character, Robert Kincaid. It's extremely satisfying to discover that Francesca really was the love of his life. Read it now! You won't be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Thousand Country Roads is the epilogue to one of the great romantic novels of our time. Mr. Waller should have left well enough alone. Lacking originality, A Thousand Country Roads merely plays on the popularity of the original story and the fact that we are all interested to know what happened in those intervening years to Francesca and Robert Kincaid. Two vivid conclusions shine forth from a reading of Country Roads. First, not only does this epilogue lack depth or intimacy, it also reveals the fact that in retrospect the original work¿though moving¿lacked depth as well. The prose is stilted, the actions contrived and we are left with the empty musings of an old man. We wait and wait, and yet there is no emotional payoff in this novel, nothing to move us. And so the author leaves us empty. Second, during the time between these two novels, male authors such as Nicholas Sparks in The Notebook and Kirk Martin in Shade of the Maple have taken relationship dramas to a new level, gracing us with great depth and meaning. And we are moved deeply. I wish I had not ruined Bridges by reading A Thousand Country Roads. I will stick with Sparks and Martin from now on.