Robert James Waller, author of The Bridges of Madison County, one of the best-selling novels of all time about a brief love affair, has died. He wrote it in 11 days in his fifties, having retired from a business college teaching career. The critics crucified it as sentimental, cliché-ridden and trite, for The New Yorker “the worst book in living memory”. But it sold 50 million copies globally and was made into a successful Clint Eastwood movie. So much for critics’ sense of public taste.
Born 1 August 1939 in Rockford, Iowa, he had – intriguingly – an 8 degree Leo Sun, as does JK Rowling, whose writing style the critics have also trashed. In Waller’s case, his Sun was conjunct Pluto trine Jupiter in Aries, so he wasn’t short of confidence. He had an Earth Grand Trine of Neptune in a creative trine to Uranus trine Mars in Capricorn, formed into a Kite by Mars opposition Venus in Cancer and Pluto in Leo – undoubtedly talented and suited to the materialistic world of economics and management. His Mercury in Leo opposed an Aquarius Moon squaring onto Uranus in Taurus; with an out-of-element Grand Cross of Saturn opposition a Scorpio Node square Pluto Venus opposition Mars. A complicated man, tough-minded though obviously with a romantic streak. He left his wife of 35 years for a younger bride five years after his great success and went on to write several other books.