Quietly powerful and thoroughly credible, Waller's first novel (he previously wrote two books of essays) describes the profound love between a photographer and an Iowa farmer's wife who, together for only four days, never lose their feelings for each other. In August 1965, 52-year-old divorce Robert Kincaid packs his pickup truck and travels to Iowa's Madison County, the location of seven covered bridges he is to photograph for National Geographic . There, he asks directions of Francesca Johnson, alone at home while her husband and two children visit the Illinois State Fair. Initially, neither Robert nor Francesca expects their random encounter to lead to seduction, yet their mutual desire is undeniable. Waller tells their story as though it were nonfiction, claiming to have heard about Francesca from her children after her death, read her journals, seen Robert's relics of those four days and interviewed a jazz musician who knew the photographer. Scenes between the lovers are movingly evoked and moments with Francesca, who celebrates her birthday 22 years later by reflecting on her brief time with Robert, are particularly poignant. An erotic, bittersweet tale of lingering memories and forsaken possibilities. Photos of covered bridges serve as illustrations. 35,000 first printing. (Apr.)
This is the story of four days that change forever the lives of two lonely people. Robert Kincaid is a roving photographer for National Geographic and Francesca Johnson is a housewife whose marriage suffers from a lack of romance. Francesca's family is out of town when Kincaid arrives on the scene, and the pair are instantly attracted. They soon become lovers, and Kincaid asks Francesca to run away with him, but she refuses. Francesca stays loyal to her family, and memories of Kincaid are all that remain. Contrived, unrealistic dialog detracts from a well-plotted, quick, and pleasant read. For larger popular fiction collections.-- Bettie Spivey Cormier, Charlotte-Mecklenburg P.L., Charlotte, N.C.