The Bridge (Stella Shortlist 2019)
In 1970s Melbourne, 22-year-old Italian migrant Antonello is newly married and working as a rigger on the West Gate Bridge, a gleaming monument to a modern city. When the bridge collapses one October morning, killing 35 of his workmates, his world crashes down on him. It is up to his wife, Paolina, to help him recover and find his way back to himself and their marriage.
In 2009, Jo and her best friend Ashleigh are on the verge of finishing high school and flush with the possibilities for their lives thereafter. But when a night of drinking at a party results in a terrible tragedy, Jo's future is set on a radically different course. The only path to redemption is to face the consequences of her actions.
Drawing on true events of Australia's worst industrial accident - a tragedy that still scars the city - The Bridgeis a profoundly moving novel that examines class, guilt, and moral culpability. Yet it shows that even the most harrowing of situations can give way to forgiveness and redemption. Ultimately, is a testament to survival and the resilience of the human spirit.
Enza Gandolfo is a Melbourne writer and an honorary professor in creative writing at Victoria University. She is interested in the power of stories to create understanding and empathy, with a particular focus on feminist and political fiction. The co-editor of the journal TEXT and a founding member of the Victoria University Feminist Research Network, her first novel, Swimming (2009), was shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award.