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The Bridge of San Luis Rey

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Written by Thornton Wilder

Narrated by Sam Waterston


The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Written by Thornton Wilder

Narrated by Sam Waterston

ratings:
4/5 (75 ratings)
Length:
3 hours
Released:
Jan 13, 2004
ISBN:
9781598873009
Format:
Audiobook

Description

The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Thornton Wilder's second novel, won him the first of his three Pulitzer Prizes. The novel opens in the aftermath of an inexplicable tragedy—a tiny footbridge in Peru breaks, and five travelers hurtle to their deaths. Most townspeople think to themselves with secret joy, "Within 10 minutes myself...."

But for Brother Juniper, a humble Franciscan friar who witnesses the catastrophe, the question is inescapable: Why those five? Suddenly, Brother Juniper is committed to discover what manner of lives these five disparate people led—and whether it was divine intervention that took their lives, or a capricious fate.

Wilder maintained in his works that true meaning and beauty are found in ordinary experience. This is especially true of The Bridge of San Luis Rey. From the very beginning to the stunning conclusion, the listener is absorbed into the individual stories of the five victims, and how their destinies intertwine.

Released:
Jan 13, 2004
ISBN:
9781598873009
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works, exploring the connection between the commonplace and cosmic dimensions of human experience, continue to be read and produced around the world. His Bridge of San Luis Rey, one of seven novels, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928, as did two of his four full-length dramas, Our Town (1938) and The Skin of Our Teeth (1943). Wilder's The Matchmaker was adapted as the musical Hello, Dolly!. He also enjoyed enormous success with many other forms of the written and spoken word, among them teaching, acting, the opera, and films. (His screenplay for Hitchcock's Shadow of Doubt [1943] remains a classic psycho-thriller to this day.) Wilder's many honors include the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Book Committee's Medal for Literature.



Reviews

What people think about The Bridge of San Luis Rey

4.0
75 ratings / 68 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Well-written, of course, and readable with traces of the satire that he would use in later works, but (for me) unconvincing in its final lines and world view.
  • (5/5)
    I really, really liked this book. I am glad that the religious theme did not stop me. Despite its brevity, the novel really succeed in bringing all the characters to life for me. He manages to find just the right words to describe the difficult relationship between the old woman and her daughter, balanced on the precarious border between love and selfishness, touching me deeply. The ending was also surprisingly strong with one of the few "purpose of life" ideas that actually makes sense. Great book!

    Ironically enough, the afterword, which complains about the first edition of the book going all out to make it appear longer to justify the price, does exactly that. I found it quite boring with excessive reprinting of advanced praise of the first edition and the like. It felt like the publishers crammed it with whatever relevant/ irrelevant info they could find to make it longer.
  • (4/5)
    This is the story of 5 people, all who lost their lives when a bridge in Peru collapsed. The events of their lives leading up to this are engaging and relevant, I felt the loss of their lives, although,obviously, complete strangers. This was a great read and I will be searching out his other novels. Awesome book, recommended.
  • (3/5)
    "The finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travellers into the gulf below"By sally tarbox on 26 February 2018Format: Kindle EditionIn 1714 Peru, a bridge gives way, killing the five random individuals on it; an old noblewoman, ugly, derided by many, and abandoned by her lovely but cold-hearted daughter; the orphan girl attending her; a depressed young man who has lost his twin brother; an elderly man who 'manages' a celebrated actress; and the young son of said lady, whom he's taking to educate.After the event, a local priest tries to investigate the lives of the victims in a bid to prove a logic to this 'act of God'. While the abbess who knew the dead sees the effect of the tragedy on those left behind and their resultant actions, commenting "there is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning."This is a well-written work as Wilder delineates the complex characters of the protagonists. I didn't find it massively engaging as a read, but recognise the literary merit and philosophical debate.
  • (5/5)
    This short book tells the story of five people who lost their lives when the Bridge of San Luis Rey fell in Peru in the 1700's. Each chapter tells a story of one individual. The narrative begins when Father Junniper thinks he can find a rationale for why some are chosen to die and some are not. Is it that God has called the chosen or that the evil are finding their rewards. An eccentric Marquesa dies just after making a decision to change her life; her servant girl dies along with her. Estaban, a twin who has lost his brother dies while the Captain who he was accompanying is saved because he needs to go the lower road. Uncle Peo, an old friend of a famous actress dies along with her son. Each of these people had some connection to the Abbess of a convent. The final chapter find relatives of the victims visiting the Abbess. Each of the victims was loved by someone; some will be remembered by many and some will be forgotten, but there is a thread of love connecting all.
  • (4/5)
    Simple yet divine.