From one of America's finest novelists comes an absorbing story of one man's mid-life crisis and struggle of conscience. Bartley Alexander is an engineer who has just received the greatest commission of his career - to design the Moorlock Bridge in Canada. Despite Bartley's professional success and apparently happy marriage, there is something missing in his life. An encounter with an old flame in London gives him a second lease on life, but can he reconcile this affair with his sense of personal integrity? Willa Cather's first novel, Alexander's Bridge is a thoughtful and compelling look at how our choices affect us and those around us.
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Bartley Alexander, an engineer famous for the audacious structure of his North American bridges, is at the height of his reputation. He has a distinguished and beautiful wife and an enviable Boston home. Then, on a trip to London, he has a chance encounter with an Irish actress he once loved. When their affair re–ignites, Alexander finds himself caught in a tug of emotions — between his feelings for wife, who has supported his career with understanding and strength, and Hilda, whose impulsiveness and generosity restore to him the passion and energy of his youth. Coinciding with this personal dilemma are ominous signs of strain in his professional life. In this, her first novel, originally published in 1912, Willa Cather skillfully explores the struggle between opposing sides of the self, a facility that was to become a hallmark of her craft.From the Back Cover:
Construction engineer Bartley Alexander is a troubled, middle-aged man torn between Winifred, his American wife—a cold woman with clearly defined standards—and Hilda Burgoyne—an alluring mistress in London who has helped him recapture his youth and sense of freedom. Alexander's relationship with Hilda gnaws away at his sense of propriety and honor and eventually proves disastrous. (He is with Hilda when a messenger, unable to find him, fails to warn him that a bridge he is constructing is about to collapse.) A fascinating study of a man's growing awareness of the breach in his integrity, this book is essential reading for fans of this great American novelist.
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