"Destinies turn on individual moments," Sara Berg writes to her old friend Bobby near the end of this melancholy but ultimately life-affirming novel. She refers to a time of personal tragedy when she took comfort in the arms of one boy when another was not available. It's true for everyone –small events that seem inconsequential at the time can alter the course of one's life. "Bridge of Sighs" is the story of "Lucy" Lynch whose life was altered for the worse on that day in grade school when his teacher asked if "Lou C. Lynch" was present during roll call. "Lucy" is a needy, bookish kid coming of age in a small upstate New York town whose ground water has been poisoned by dyes the local tannery has dumped into its major stream. It's also the story of Bobby Marconi whose restlessness and anger are fueled by his hatred for a brutal bullying father and Sara Berg the artistic young girl who befriends both boys but eventually marries "Lucy." Russo's talent for rendering cruel nuances of human behavior as seen from the perspective of an awkward teenager makes for wonderfully enjoyable reading. For example, voluptuous Karen Cirillo feigns friendship with "Lucy" to con cigarettes from his father's store but looks right past him when their eyes meet in public. In the end, Sara comes to recognize the life she has chosen with "Lucy" to be for the best despite misgivings and tragedy along the way. Russo's writing just seems to get better with every book he publishes. Like "Empire Falls" before it, this one has quickly found its way onto the best seller lists – no wonder Russo is smiling broadly at us from the back of the dust jacket. He's found his stride and is in peak form these days. Highly recommended.