This is the story of Robert Kincaid, a world-class photographer, and Francesca Johnson, an Iowa farm wife. Kincaid, fifty-two, is a photographer for National Geographic. A strange, almost mystical traveler of Asian deserts, distant rivers, and ancient cities, he is a man who feels out of harmony with his time. Francesca Johnson, forty-five and once a young war bride from Italy, lives in the hills of south Iowa with flickering memories of her girlhood dreams. Each of them is content, yet when Robert Kincaid drives through the heat and dust of an Iowa summer and turns into her farm lane looking for directions, their illusions fall away, and they are joined in an experience of uncommon and sudden beauty, an experience that will haunt them forever.
As the photographer Kincaid uses light not to reveal objects, but rather his own kind of truth, what occurs by the old bridges of Madison County becomes a prism transforming the ordinary emotions we think we understand into something rare and brilliant. The result is a passionate, deeply moving experience in lyrical prose, an achievement that puts Robert James Waller in the forefront of this country's new fiction writers.
He noticed all of her... He could have walked out on this earlier, could still walk. Rationality shrieked at him. "Let it go, Kincaid, get back on the road. Shoot the bridges, go to India. Stop in Bangkok on the way and look up the silk merchant's daughter who knows every ecstatic secret the old ways can teach. Swim naked with her at dawn in jungle pools and listen to her scream as you turn her inside out at twilight. Let go of this" - the voice was hissing now - "it's outrunning you." But the slow street tango had begun. Somewhere it played; he could hear it, an old accordion. It was far back, or far ahead, he couldn't be sure. Yet it moved toward him steadily. And the sound of it blurred his criteria and funneled his own alternatives toward unity. Inexorably it did that, until there was nowhere left to go, except toward Franceseca Johnson.
This hardback book is new, as is the dust jacket. There is a store sticker on the back cover. The flap has a price of $14.95.