Netflix has made a great new series titled Transatlantic based the novel The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer. The streaming service has done an excellent film creation of this WWII story by staying close to the book. The seven part series released in April 2023 stars Cory Michael Smith as Varian Fry and Gillian Thomas as Madeline. Great casting!

Check our our overview of The Flight Portfolio and our review her novel The Invisible Bridge right here at GGR.

I always felt that The Invisible Bridge was also worthy of a screenplay but thrilled to see The Flight Portfolio now streaming. Orringer is a terrific writer.


Julie Orringer is back with her second Novel titled The Flight Portfolio. The theme is similar to her first  in one aspect, escape from the Nazi’s.  In that Novel, The  Invisible Bridge, Orringer chronicled the escape of the protagonists grandparents from Hungary. ( See  The Flight Portfolio tracks the courageous adventure of Varian Fry, a young American in Marseilles, France seeking to help famous artists and writers escape Nazi tyranny.  Among them are Chagall, Hannah Arndt, and Max Ernst. Fry works under the auspices of an American funded philanthropy, The Emergency Rescue Committee.  Orringer makes clear that the Varian Fry part of her book is in fact a well researched work of non-fiction.


In the midst of the daring intrigue  of Fry’s  daily work, Orringer introduces a parallel story line. A former Harvard classmate, Elliott Grant,  and unconventional lover of Fry’s is also in Marseilles, himself seeking to save  the son of yet another individual from the hands of Nazi’s.  The story line becomes tense as Fry’s homosexual  relationship with Grant complicates the mission.

Julie Orringer’s writing is splendid and enjoyable.  Her work is always intricately researched and clearly presented. A novelist who will certainly provide her readers with much future enjoyment.

How To Swim Underwater, short stories by Julie Orringer.  Wonderful.


Happy to see that Julie Orringer’s Invisible Bridge has made the New York Times Top 100 Fiction For 2010. Well deserved recognition for a great young author. Check our my initial review in the Gordon’s Good Reads archives!  Congratulations!

Nine Short Stories/One Great Writer. How To Breathe Underwater

What is so wonderful about Julie Orringer’s  How To Breathe Underwater is that there is a piece of each of us in all of the nine short stories.

Orringer’s passages  through childhood and puberty are incredibly vivid and will register in your mind and jolt your own recall of life experiences exactly like those jumping from pages.

The message in How To Breathe Underwater comes from the hand of a gifted writer offering a combination of imagination and reality told through true to life characters whom we have all met at some point in our childhood and adolescence.  You may even find yourself!

You will find Orringer’s How to Breathe Underwater  so compelling that you will likely turn through all nine stories non-stop.

Julie Orringer, The Invisible Bridge

Had I read Julie Orringer’s collection of short stories How to Breathe Under Water published in 2005 the beauty of her first novel The Invisible Bridge released in 2010 would have been no surprise. “Don’t even ask, just read it,”  proclaimed my bookseller as she handed me a copy. My anticipated question, who is Julie Orringer, will never cross my lips!

The Invisible Bridge is an adventure, an unlikely love story, an incredible insight into a family which in fact is partly her own. Set in Paris and Budapest as the Second World War unfolds, the book is alive with memorable characters that evolve and continually exceed all expectations. The panorama of place and time is vividly portrayed. 

I had the opportunity to meet Julie Orringer after reading The Invisible Bridge and learned that the novel was in fact partly about her grandparents and great uncles. The family was among the Hungarian Jews living in Budapest deceived by Hitler and their own government. I am getting ahead of your read!

From Budapest to Paris and back to Budapest, the knowledge and fear of the impending reality of war sears through the dialogue as the chapters unfold. Orringer guides the reader through this incredible story of highs and lows . Through it all, The Invisible Bridge never looses its romance, sense of family and the evolution of personal character through the best and worst of circumstances. 

Orringer spent seven years writing and researching the book including two years in Budapest and the effort paid off.  The Invisible Bridge is a riveting love story crafted with historical accuracy that creates realism for the reader.

I have a shelf in my library of books I think worthy of a Pulitzer. The Invisible Bridge is there !