Shared from the 2017-03-11 Chattanooga eEdition

‘Bridges of Madison County’ author dies

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Robert James Waller

NEW YORK — Robert James Waller, whose bestselling, bittersweet 1992 romance novel “The Bridges of Madison County” was turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood and later into a Broadway musical, has died in Texas, according to a longtime friend. He was 77.

Scott Cawelti told The Associated Press Waller died early Friday at his home in Fredericksburg, Texas. He had been fighting multiple myeloma, a form of cancer.

In “Bridges,” a literary phenomenon which Waller famously wrote in 11 days, the roving National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid spends four days taking pictures of bridges and also romancing Francesca Johnson, a war bride from Italy married to a no-nonsense Iowa farmer.

Waller’s novel reached No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list and stayed on it for more than three years, longer than any work of fiction since “The Robe,” a novel about Jesus’ crucifixion published in the early 1950s. The Eastwood-directed 1995 movie grossed $182 million worldwide.

Waller ’s seven books include “Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend,” which unseated “Bridges” on the best-seller list, “Border Music,” ”Puerto Vallarta Squeeze” and “A Thousand County Roads: An Epilogue to The Bridges of Madison County.”

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