The Bridge Ladies

The Bridge Ladies

by Betsy Lerner


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A fifty-year-old Bridge game provides an unexpected way to cross the generational divide between a daughter and her mother. Betsy Lerner takes us on a powerfully personal literary journey, where we learn a little about Bridge and a lot about life.

After a lifetime defining herself in contrast to her mother’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” generation, Lerner finds herself back in her childhood home, not five miles from the mother she spent decades avoiding. When Roz needs help after surgery, it falls to Betsy to take care of her. She expected a week of tense civility; what she got instead were the Bridge Ladies. Impressed by their loyalty, she saw something her generation lacked. Facebook was great, but it wouldn’t deliver a pot roast.

Tentatively at first, Betsy becomes a regular at her mother’s Monday Bridge club. Through her friendships with the ladies, she is finally able to face years of misunderstandings and family tragedy, the Bridge table becoming the common ground she and Roz never had.

By turns darkly funny and deeply moving, The Bridge Ladies is the unforgettable story of a hard-won—but never-too-late—bond between mother and daughter.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062354471
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/02/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 260,756
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Betsy Lerner is the author of The Forest for the Trees and Food and Loathing. She is a recipient of the Thomas Wolfe Poetry Prize, an Academy of American Poets Poetry Prize, and the Tony Godwin Prize for Editors, and was selected as one of PEN’s Emerging Writers. Lerner is a partner with the literary agency Dunow, Carlson & Lerner and resides in New Haven, Connecticut.


Pelham, New York

Date of Birth:

August 9, 1960


B.A., New York University, 1982; M.F.A., Columbia University, 1987

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

1 A Private Language 11

2 The Manhattan Bridge Club 29

3 The Athenian 37

4 A Thousand Bette Cohens 57

5 Bingo 71

6 How I Met Your Father 77

7 What to Expect 105

8 Ruffing It 121

9 Welcome to the Club 131

10 1964 143

11 The Finesse 153

12 The Revelation of Self 161

13 Zig-Zag 177

14 Get the Kiddies off the Street 191

15 The Hands of a Clock 199

16 Jew in a Box 215

17 Bette in Flames 233

18 When the Student Is Ready, the Teacher Appears 249

19 Ash 259

20 The Bridge Ladies 277

Epilogue 293

Acknowledgments 297

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