Renee Braverman's Reviews > The Bridge of San Luis Rey

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
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Jul 22, 12

Read in July, 2012

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 learn how each victim lived and how they met their fate. It all takes place against a religious backdrop – a monk, a convent, an orphanage. A religious explanation would be expected.

Given the facts as presented, I might have come to a different conclusion. Given the 18th century religious setting of this novel and my 21st century belief system, I likely would have met the same fate as Brother Juniper but for very different reasons. So what conclusion did Brother Juniper make, and why? You will have to read this Pulitzer prize-winning book that also was chosen as one of Time’s 100 Best Books.
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