J. Travis Moger's Reviews > The Bridge of San Luis Rey

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
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's review
May 26, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction

** spoiler alert ** The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder****

“On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below.” So begins Thorton Wilder’s classic novel, which explores the interrelated themes of divine justice and human love. “Theodicy” is the attempt to justify God’s actions to man, but no clear justice can be discerned in this “act of God.” A friar named Brother Juniper exhaustively investigates the lives of the five victims, confident he’ll find a cosmic reason for each untimely death. In the end he fails in his task and is burned as a heretic for his efforts. Questions about why bad things happen can be asked but not satisfactorily answered in this life; that’s a lesson as old as the Book of Job but still relevant today.

The moral of the story can be found in Wilder’s closing words: “But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.” Whether its conclusion rings true for you (to me it sounds a bit trite, like “love conquers all”), the book takes the reader on a beautiful and thought-provoking journey without wasting time.

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Reading Progress

May 26, 2010 – Shelved
August 19, 2010 – Started Reading
August 19, 2010 –
page 75
August 19, 2010 – Shelved as: fiction
August 20, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Julie Davis I liked your comments but dearly wish you hadn't spoiled the end before I even picked up the book by stating Brother Juniper's end. Way to ruin the story ... aaargh.

J. Travis Moger Yikes. Julie, I'm so sorry I gave away the ending without fair warning. I've added a "spoiler alert" to the review. Thank you for letting me know about this.

Julie Davis Thank you for saving the future readers who want to save themselves from a fate worse than death! (You can see that I take my book reading a little too seriously!)


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