Book Notification

Evan S. Connell Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Mr. Bridge & Mrs. Bridge Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Patriot (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
Points for a Compass Rose (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Connoisseur (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Double Honeymoon (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Alchymist's Journal (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

The Anatomy Lesson and Other Stories (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
Notes from a Bottle Found on the Beach at Carmel (1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
At the Crossroads (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
St. Augustine's Pigeon (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Collected Stories (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lost in Uttar Pradesh (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Diary of a Rapist (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Long Desire (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
The White Lantern (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Son of the Morning Star (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Deus Lo Volt! (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Aztec Treasure House (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
El Dorado and Other Pursuits (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Francisco Goya: A Life (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Best American Short Stories 1957(1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Evan S. Connell is an author best known for the “Bridge” series of novels. The author was born in Kansas City in 1924 to a mother that was the daughter of a judge and a father that was a very well-known doctor.
This wealthy and genteel background is showcased and sometimes satirized in “Mrs. Bridge” and the subsequent novels. According to Connell, much of his work is autobiographical in origin.

He has asserted that growing up, he used to be a quiet boy that was in turn dreamy and attentive and often felt out of place among the gardeners, maids, and lawn parties that his parents regularly threw.

As a very shy boy, living as the heir to one of the most illustrious names in Kansas City was difficult. The author still speaks of his upbringing and the city with some measure of bitterness.

In his teenage years, he went to Dartmouth starting as a premed student and this is when he began penning short stories.

While his father wanted him to become a doctor and take over the family business, he was busy writing short stories and getting rejected.

He would continue writing his stories until he enlisted in the Navy in 1943, which would prove a turning point as he got the chance to accumulate a lot of material that he used in the writing of “The Patriot” his second novel in 1960.

After the end of the Second World War, Evan S. Connell returned to the United States and went back to college. This time around he went to the Univerity of Kansas rather than Dartmouth, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1947.
This would be his only degree ever, even though he would go on to study at Columbia and Stanford for his art and creative writing studies.

When he was at Stanford, he was fortunate enough to work with Wallace Stegene and was also the winner of the Edith Mirrieles Award for fiction. It was during this time that he started publishing his stories that would win many awards.
His work was also featured in a range of respected but small magazines and was also reprinted in the annual anthologies of the “O. Henry Prize Stories.”

While he was still studying at Columbia, he received a letter from Elizabeth McKee, a literary agent that had stumbled upon his work in the magazines.

It was from this letter that a strong friendship and business relationship began that would last for more than four decades. Over this time, Elizabeth has helped Evan revise and refine his works to make them more commercially viable.

After graduating from Columbia, Evan Connell headed to Europe, where he lived and experienced more than a dozen countries across little more than two years. About half of this time he spent in France and particularly in the capital Paris.
At this time he used to hang out with young American expatriates many of whom were engaged in creative activities such as music, writing, sculpture, and painting. Among these was the man that would become one of the most important in his life.
George Plimpton was among the group of friends who founded “The Paris Review,” which featured short stories by little-known authors such as Samuel Beckett, Terry Southern, Philip Roth, and Evan S. Connell.

However, Connell never cared much for the cafe society his expatriate friends were interested in. By 1955, he headed back to the US and made his home in San Francisco where he survived on odd jobs.

Over several years, he made his name as an author writing short stories until he published “Mrs. Bridge” his seminal work in 1960.

“Mrs. Bridge” by Evan S. Connell introduces Mrs. Bridge and her successful lawyer husband. The latter works long hours at his Kansas City office leaving his wife and three children feeling abandoned.

The work was set in the time from the 1920s up to the Second World War. This was a time when the Great Depression was biting even though you would not tell it looking at the lifestyle of the Bridges. Mrs. Bridges’ home, her Lincoln, kitchen, and laundry remained well tended.
At first glance, she looks like a God-fearing middlebrow Midwestern woman that would provide a good contrast against the extreme quirks and attitudes of the times and other characters.

Over the course of the story, Evan puts in more tiles to make for a more nuanced profile of Mrs. Bridge. It is not always an admirable picture but one could easily understand it as it shows her as a product of the times and human nature.
Mrs. Bridge makes for a touching picture that is both funny and sad. It is just the type of narrative that would prompt one to realize that regardless of her behavior, she is oblivious to it as she believes this is proper behavior.
Mrs. Bridge has internalized a proper code of behavior and follows the rules she knows, hoping that everything will turn out fine.

Evan S. Connell’s “Mr. Bridge,” tells the story from the perspective of Mrs. Bridge’s husband. The man is a lawyer in Kansas City and is firmly in the middle class even though he is often worried about money.

Mr. Bridge also happens to be very conservative financially as well as personally and politically. He runs a very successful one-man office with Julia a middle-aged sprinter as his only employee.

He believes it is weird to talk about his professional life with his family and has no real interests or hobbies and he struggles with connecting with his wife and children. He is often late for dinner and tends to dismiss his family’s concerns and problems.
Bridge believes it is up to his wife to deal with the lives of their children and his role is to only provide the finances for the family.

It is a heartbreaking story that showcases a man who seems to be trapped by the expectations his society has of him.

In the end, he is a man that does not know how to be happy since he placed expectations and responsibilities above his own happiness.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Evan S. Connell

Leave a Reply