Robert James Waller was an American fiction author best known for his book The Bridges of Madison County of 1993. He graduated with a degree in Bachelor in Arts in 1962 and masters in arts in 1964 from the University of Northern Lowa. Later in 1968, he studied PhD in business at Indiana Bloomington. Waller became a teacher of management and economics at the University of Northern Lowa and then in 1977 became a full professor. In 1980 he became the dean of business in the university.
Some of Waller’s books appeared in the New York Times bestseller list. In 1993 The Bridges of Madison County became the leading bestseller and was made into a film together with his 1995 book Puerto Vallarta Squeeze. Waller’s books The Bridges of Madison County and Puerto Vallarta Squeeze have been adapted into movies.
The Bridges of Madison County
The Bridges of Madison County is a story about an affair between Robert and Francesca. She is a housewife married to Richard, a farmer living in Madison County. Though her life appears to be at peace, she is lonely and unhappy. She is very passionate and has some dreams and hopes for her life.
One day Robert Kincaid, a photographer, takes his pickup truck on begins driving on his journey to Madison County to photograph some bridges and use them in National Geographic. He appears at Francesca’s home looking for directions to the bridge in that area and finds her alone. On seeing him, she walks towards him to know what Robert needs. She not only gives her the directions but agrees to take him to the bridge when they arrive; Robert tries to find where he will be able to make the best photos the following day. They then drive back, and Francesca invites him to have a cold drink in her home.
As the story continues, we find that Francesca feels neglected by her husband and is not comfortable in her marriage. He husband is not ready to change, and this dims the light inside her as days go.
Both Robert and Francesca have no expectations of falling for each other in the beginning, but they end up engaging in a love affair without minding the boundaries and the consequences. They feel much attracted to each other and after taking supper and drinking Robert leaves to return to his motel. Francesca wants to see him once again, so she drives to the bridge and leaves a message hoping that he will see it the next day while taking the photos. The note invites him to have dinner with her once again.
The following day Robert spots a piece of paper, and he takes it puts it in his pocket to first focus on capturing when the light is good. He later reads the note and calls Francesca to accept the invitation. They spent four beautiful days together since her husband and children were out of town for those days.
Francesca felt deeply in love with Robert and thought that she had found her true love. Robert thought that he was looking for love and he felt that he had arrived at his destination when he found Francesca. Knowing that she is married, Robert asks her to run away with him, but she declines his request and goes back to her husband. Even after realizing that they both need each other Francesca chooses to sacrifice her love and happiness to her family.
The Bridges of Madison County is a love story with a simple and effective narration. The book is written well engaging both lyrics and poems in the story makes you love it even more.
Puerto Vallarta Squeeze
Puerto Vallarta Squeeze is a story set in Mexico with entertaining characters an expert soldier, a middle-aged novelist and a beautiful young lady. The book is about Danny Pastor a novelist and an ex-reporter on a break from Chicago and just lazing around with a young lady with a kind heart named Luz Maria. He first met with her while she was working in Cantina as a waitress and since then become very close to each other. He had already requested her to get married and live together, and from that time, they have never lived far from each other. Danny is recovering the passion he has for writing and tries to find a way back into the publisher’s list.
The two love bird likes a place called Mamma Mia and spends most of their evenings there listening to some music. One day, as they are relaxing Danny, hears gunshots and runs outside to see what’s going on and accidentally witnesses a killing of two men by an ex-government agent. One of the men lying dead was navy officer while the other was a software engineer. He sees the possibility of the story which could make him win a prize and restore his pride and make him famous. The shooter approaches him being the only Anglo around and requests for a ride to cross the border and ended up accepting after being promised some payment.
Luz wants to go with them, and the three begin their journey through Ford bronco named Vita and then head to the border. During their trip, the killer tells them more about himself and how he had been hired to kill an engineer. They discuss the rules of bullfights slaughterhouses and hunting during the journey. Their journey takes them to areas they did not plan to go. The things that they never thought of happening. Danny and the shooter escape to Mexico to find the meaning of life and then begin complaining about the hygiene set up in that place.
The story has some twists and turns and is fast-paced with good dialog, humor and a good ending. The story is rough on the edges sometimes, but the personalities of the characters make it fun and more interesting. The story is sweet and plausible making you understand it better as you read.
Books in order of publication:
|The Bridges of Madison County||(1992)|
|Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend||(1993)|
|Puerto Vallarta Squeeze||(1995)|
|A Thousand Country Roads||(2002)|
|High Plains Tango||(2005)|
|The Long Night of Winchell Dear||(2006)|
|Just Beyond the Firelight||(1988)|
|The Ballads of Madison County||(1993)|
|One Good Road Is Enough||(1990)|
|Old Songs in a New Cafe||(1994)|
|The Summer Nights Never End…Until They Do||(2011)|