The Bridge of San Luis Rey
"On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below." With this celebrated sentence Thornton Wilder begins The Bridge of S...more
"Some say that we shall never know, and that to the gods we are like the flies that the boys kill on a summer day, and some say, on the contrary, that the very sparrows do not lose a feather that has not been brushed away by the finger of God."
You might think a book so focused on God and faith would fail to have the desired effect on an atheist like me. But, actually, I think the religious factor of this novel is just a small part of something which affects all of us: our need to question why t...more
A book about the connections that we forge between us, Thorton Wilder’s 1928, Pulitzer winning novel is a Great Gatsby-Heart of Darkness scale of a book, with the same type of compact brevity that the other two are famous for. The book also represents some of the ideas that were swirling around at the time in the modernist canon, all those ideas that were the precursor of the meta-fictive pomo literature that was to come some 40-50 years later. It’s often nice to explore this ter...more
You put down the phone. You cannot sleep anymore. So...more
"But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we...more
"[Dona Maria] saw that the people of this world moved about in an armor of egotism, drunk with self-gazing, athirst for compliments, hearing little of what was said to them, unmoved by the accidents that befell their closest frien...more
Pulitzer prize winning author Thornton Wilder writes about: Brother Juniper, who witnesses the deaths of five people in the 1700s when I bridge in Peru suddenly collapses. He sets out to find out all that he can about each of these people in the hopes of developing a scientific hypothesis about why God chooses to take people when he does.
It was well-written a...more
The story then focusses on each of the victims one at a time, telling their unique and lively life stories with humour and panache. The back-stories are brilliantly structur...more
I'm not a "brief glimpse" kinda girl. I'm a "stare intently" kinda girl. But I agree with those who say that this book has a chiming, almost biblical cadence.
Few novels identify their basic plotline as succinctly and forthrightly as the opening line of Thornton Wilder’s 1927 novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey: “On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travellers into the gulf below.” The novel’s conceit is this: a certain Brother Juniper was himself about to step out onto the bridge when it broke and subsequently witnessed the plunge of five people into the abyss below. Brother Juniper wonder
Wilder's play "Our Town" is something my father and I have shared since I was a child. Back when I was younger, and he'd tell me stories, I can remember him reinventing the scene where Emily is dead and has chosen to go back to her birthday party. When I finally read it when I was older I was blown away...
I'm not sure that this was the right time for "The Bridge." I've said it before in previous reviews, that books know...more
Perhaps better known as a playwright than a novelist author
Thornton Wilder has endowed a fast-paced world with this stately novella, calmly proceeding at his own philosophical tempo--oblivious of modern demands for mindless action and soulless dialogue. Considered a classic and required reading back in the 60's, Bridge of San Luis Rey (Saint Louis, King) still exerts ingenuous literary charm upon thoughtful readers. Our disposable society scorns to take the time...more
The story is simple. On July 20, 1714, a rope-fiber suspension bridge near Lima, Peru, collapsed and five people plunged to their deaths. A Franciscan monk witnessed the event and spent the next six years investigating the five victims to understand why they happened to be on the b...more
I checked Wilder's bio and could not find any time spent in Peru or South America prior to (or after) writing the book unless it was during his Co...more
The setting of this book is Lima Peru 250 years ago. One fateful day a bridge made of willows which for ages has spanned a deep gorge near the city, breaks, and five people plunge to their deaths. Brother Juniper, a monk, witnesses the accident and determines to trace the life stories of the five to prove his b...more
The Bridge of San Luis Rey
by Thornton Wilder
A foot bridge collapses in Peru in 1714 and five people plummet to their deaths. A monk is witness to the disaster and wonders why. He spends the next six years collecting information about the victims to try and conclude why, why these five people. He believes the facts will show the omnipotence of God.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey is a very short novel. In it we meet the five victims through their stories as uncovered by Brother Juniper. We lear...more
It was fast, deep and sad. I think I missed a lot because I was reading for plot, not beauty or philosophy. Frankly, sometimes you couldn't miss those things.
I did like the last line.
I'm not sure if I would recommend it.
Interesting how the writer just threw us into these peoples' lives without much introduction and immersed us in their pa...more
The novel begins at noon on July 20, 1714, when the “finest bridge in all Peru” suddenly collapses, sending five people plummeting to their deaths. A Franciscan missionary, Brother Juniper, witnesses the calamity and asks, “Why those five?” He feels this Act of God must have specifically targeted those people, and none of the other thousands of citizens who might have been on the bridge instead. So he investigates the lives of the five victims in an attempt to understand what happened.
If you ask the wrong question--how can God send the good and bad people on the bridge to the same sudden, unenlightening death?--you get the wrong answers, or at least answers you don't like. Exploring those questions in an analytical way--philosophy or theology--always seems to me an exercise by people who simply don't want to accept the basic mechanics of the uni...more
In 1714, a bridge collapsed in Peru, and five people were killed. This may seem fairly trivial on the scale of human tragedy, but Thornton Wilder uses it as the peg around which his best known work is hung. He explores the lives of these five people up to the point where they came to this sudden stop; the small scale of the disaster means it can be given a human dimension rather than being reduced to statistics.
Thus each part, except for the in...more
The ultimate question of theodicy: Why does God permit such seeminly mindless suffering and tragedy? Hell if I know...
Hell if Thornton Wilder knows, either. Nonetheless, he does a damn good job of responding to this question through his slim novella - that, note, won the *Pulitzer Prize*. The writer Russell Banks delivers...more
Almost a half-dozen people die in the first sentence, which definitely works as a method of hooking the reader. What follows is a fascinating character study of the people who have died along with a cultural examin...more
For more see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thornton...