Drani's Reviews > The Bridge of San Luis Rey

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
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Jan 10, 11

Read in January, 2011

Why didn't we read this book instead of Our Town in school? Although I liked Our Town too.

It's not at all similar in style, but this book reminded me of Candide. In each, the author maintains a removed irony (Voltaire more acerbically, Thornton more matter-of-fact), but both authors obviously ache to share the philosophical turmoil of being human. As, I guess, is every good novelist.

The parable takes place ostensibly in and around Lima, Peru, but Thornton hadn't been to Peru yet, and anyway is more focused on universal themes. But then, I'm more from Wilder's world than from Peru. I'd be interested to know if a Limean (I learned that word from this book) would find the characterizations jarring or misplaced. I was completely absorbed in the raconto-journalistic prose and enjoyed how each character study unfolded and closed and reappeared as you met the other characters and found how their lives intersected.

I can't wait to read it again -- I think it'll be even more rewarding now that I don't have to press ahead to see what's going to happen.
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