Author Evan S. Connell, best known for his novels “Mrs. Bridge” and “Mr. Bridge,” died in his home in Santa Fe, N.M., according to family members. He was 88.
Connell was a recipient of the 2010 Los Angeles Times Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, which honors writers connected to the American West. His biography of Gen. George Armstrong Custer, “Son of the Morning Star,” won an L.A. Times Book Prize in 1985 and was the basis for a television miniseries.
Connell’s “Mrs. Bridge,” published in 1959, was one of a long list of finalists for the National Book Award (it was won by Philip Roth, for “Goodbye, Columbus.”). A decade later, in 1969, Connell published a companion piece, “Mr. Bridge.” The two novels were made into the 1990 movie, “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge,” which starred Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.
Connell continued to write late into his life, publishing the story collection “Lost in Uttar Pradesh” in 2008. The Times’ David L. Ulin called it “a willfully diverse collection.” The book, Ulin wrote, “offers an unsettled glimpse of its author, with whom we can’t quite come to terms. Brilliant in places, frustrating in others, enigmatic in both content and conception, it’s a vivid metaphor for Connell’s career.”