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Books Read in 2017-2018 > The Bridge of San Luis Rey - Spoilers

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message 1: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 5978 comments Mod
Please use this thread to discuss the book freely!


message 2: by John (new)

John I wanted to like this book. It started out so promising. At first I liked the way the writing flowed. It was very descriptive, but about halfway through, it became irritating. It was like lips moving, but no speech. I sped read the last 1 1/2 sections.

I'm not really sure what Wilder was trying to say with this either. Why do people die when they do? Is there a reason behind their deaths? I felt that Brother Juniper's death provided the most of a lesson...don't look for a reason in death...? It's futile. I don't know...

This one really fell flat with me.


message 3: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 5978 comments Mod
John wrote: "I wanted to like this book. It started out so promising. At first I liked the way the writing flowed. It was very descriptive, but about halfway through, it became irritating. It was like lips movi..."

I agree John. The book caught my attention right away. The middle did lag a bit for me but overall, I enjoyed the book. Four stars, probably more like 3.5.

I did feel that Thornton Wilder was trying to, in his way, give us a glimpse into why/when people die. But, in opinion, that's not even a question. All people die. We don't know when, we don't know why.

For me, it was just a nice story. Nothing really deep about it.


message 4: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 1551 comments I enjoyed the deceptive simplicity of the writing style. In a way, the novel is about the mysteries of fate.


message 5: by John (new)

John Loretta wrote: "For me, it was just a nice story. Nothing really deep about it. ..."

Maybe I'm guilty of the same thing as Brother Juniper...looking too deeply for answers when there aren't any. ;)


message 6: by Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (last edited Dec 10, 2018 09:10AM) (new)

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 409 comments I finished this last night--I'm still a bit unsure of it. Just off the cuff, what struck me is that Brother Juniper was looking to justify the ways of God to man, and the reason he failed was because it is impossible to encompass the complexity of all these interactions. That, in addition to the fact that he already had his assumptions in place and was trying to force his research to buttress those assumptions.

If I had to put a name to those assumptions, I'd say that he expected to find that somehow, the people that died deserved to die, or that their deaths would somehow augment the community as a whole. Obviously this isn't what he found at all. What he found--if he ever realized it or not--was this incredibly complex chain of events that resulted in more chains and on and on, though it's impossible to really place a value judgment on them. In other words, life happens, and keeps on happening.

In a way, this strikes me as the 1930s equivalent to The Alchemist, though in that book, the chain of events leads directly to something that we can place a value judgment on, and suggests that the divine hand is comprehensible to man. Wilder's book seems much more mature, in that regard.

ETA: Although there did seem to be an ending to The Bridge that left me with an uplifting feeling, it wasn't so much that Wilder indicated that there was a purpose behind the deaths so much that he indicated that it depends on the person left behind, and what they do with the new circumstances. The actress seemed to have retreated even further into isolation, but it seems to have woken up the daughter who was living in Spain, and I felt as though her life was about to take a new turn. None of this was explicit, but that's the feeling Wilder left me with, which is what I meant by it being a more mature work: Life will throw unfairness and tragedy at you. What you do with it defines you as a person.

Or something like that :)


message 7: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 5978 comments Mod
John wrote: "Loretta wrote: "For me, it was just a nice story. Nothing really deep about it. ..."

Maybe I'm guilty of the same thing as Brother Juniper...looking too deeply for answers when there aren't any. ;)"


Aren't we all? Looking for answers? 😊


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... I didn't enjoy this one at all. I simply didn't connect with it at all.


message 9: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 5978 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "I didn't enjoy this one at all. I simply didn't connect with it at all."

I knew you wouldn't enjoy this book Kelly.


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