Throwback Thursday: Julie Orringer reads from her 2010 novel “The Invisible Bridge” at home in Brooklyn. While writing this book, Orringer mined her Grandfather’s memories of World War II, and traveled to Budapest to uncover primary accounts of labor camps in Central and Eastern Europe. In this scene, the novel’s protagonist, Adras, lays awake in a labor camp barracks, forced to listen his new bunkmate Yosef’s fears:
“What is it? What do you want?”
“I don’t want to die before I’m 30,” Josef whispered back, his voice braking like a boy’s. He ran a hand under his nose. “I’m unprepared for this. I’ve done nothing these past five years but eat, and drink, and fuck and make paintings. I can’t survive work camp.”
Andras is an architecture student and Yosef, a painter. Imagining our contemporaries in their occupations in a labor camp might make you chuckle, but Orringer’s scene is crisp, masterfully capturing these creatives’ unfathomable despair.