The wife of a successful lawyer in 1930s Kansas City, India Bridge, tries to cope with her dissatisfaction with an easy, though empty, life.
Before Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique there was Mrs. Bridge, an inspired novel set in the years around World War II that testified to the sapping ennui of an unexamined suburban life.
India Bridge, the title character, has three children and a meticulous workaholic husband.
She defends her dainty, untouched guest towels from son Douglas, who has the gall to dry his hands on one, and earnestly attempts to control her daughters with pronouncements such as “Now see here, young lady … in the morning one doesn’t wear earrings that dangle.”
Though her life is increasingly filled with leisure and plenty, she can’t shuffle off vague feelings of dissatisfaction, confusion, and futility. Evan S. Connell, who also wrote the twinned novel Mr. Bridge, builds a world with tiny brushstrokes and short, telling vignettes.