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The Bridges of Madison County

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Language  English
Publication date  1992
ISBN  0-446-51652-X
Author  Robert James Waller
Country  United States of America
3.5/5 Goodreads

Publisher  Warner Books, Inc.
Pages  192 pp
Originally published  1992
Followed by  A Thousand Country Roads
OCLC  24246926
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Media type  Print (hardback & paperback)
Adaptations  The Bridges of Madison County (1995)
Similar  Robert James Waller books, Other books

Robert james waller interview on the bridges of madison county 1993

The Bridges of Madison County is a 1992 best-selling novel by Robert James Waller that tells the story of a married but lonely Italian-American woman living in 1960s Madison County, Iowa. She engages in an affair with a National Geographic photographer from Bellingham, Washington, who is visiting Madison County 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 stated in an interview that there were 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. It has also been adapted into a feature film in 1995 and a musical in 2013.

the bridges of madison county by robert james waller

Publication history

It was originally published in the UK under the title Love in Black and White.

A sequel 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.

In 2005, the trilogy was completed with High Plains Tango, which came about when Waller was writing A Thousand Country Roads and he realized he had two novels' worth of material. "High Plains Tango picks up the story of itinerant master carpenter Carlisle McMillan, Robert Kincaid's illegitimate son, who settles in Salamander, S.D. There his life becomes intertwined with two very different women and almost overrun by the threats of eminent domain."


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, and remained on the list for over three years (164 consecutive weeks), through October 8, 1995.

Film adaptation

The Bridges of Madison County was made into a 1995 film of the same name, adapted by Richard LaGravenese and directed by Clint Eastwood. It stars Eastwood and Meryl Streep.

Musical adaptation

The Bridges of Madison County was adapted into a Tony Award-winning musical with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown and the book by Marsha Norman. The musical premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival on August 1, 2013. Directed by Bartlett Sher, the cast featured Elena Shaddow as Francesca and Steven Pasquale. The musical began previews on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on January 17, 2014 and officially opened on February 20, 2014 with Kelli O'Hara as Francesca and Steven Pasquale as Robert Kincaid. Directed by Bartlett Sher, the sets are by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, and lighting by Donald Holder. Hunter Foster played the role of Bud Johnson, the husband of Francesca.


The Bridges of Madison County Wikipedia