Bridges' Appeal: He Begs To Differ

In your piece on Robert James Waller's novel The Bridges of Madison County ("How a little novel from nowhere hit the big time," Top of the News, Mar. 1), I was dismayed by the glib assessment of its phenomenal success. Touting "generational [niche] marketing" missed by a country mile--though it squared with what is awry with much of product marketing in general and book publishing in particular.

The success of Bridges has less to do with an appeal to "baby boomers trying to hold on to their youthful feelings" than with the fact that it is a finely told tale with great resonance--for people of any age. Was Alice Walker's The Color Purple successful only because it appealed to African-Americans?

Frank O. Smith

South Portland, Me.

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