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The Bridge of San Luis Rey: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 6, 2004
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"A remarkably confident evocation of the secret springs of half a dozen men, women, and children...A very beautiful book." -- -- Clifton Fadiman, The Nation
"One of the greatest reading novels in this century's American writing...Wonderfully lucid reading." -- -- Edmund Fuller
"A masterpiece" -- New York Herald Tribune
"A remarkably confident evocation of the secret springs of half a dozen men, women, and children...A very beautiful book." -- Clifton Fadiman, The Nation
"One of the greatest reading novels in this century's American writing...Wonderfully lucid reading." -- Edmund Fuller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Juniper's conclusions are, of course, inconclusive. He never found the pattern, but remained convinced that it was there, just that he was too poor an intellect to see it. Such questions, naturally, were anathema to the church of the age and Juniper and his book were destroyed for heresy. Readers who focus on the same questions as Juniper are doomed to be just as frustrated. Wilder is far too insightful to let Juniper have the last word, for ultimately, it is not Juniper who stumbles upon the meaning of the five deaths, but the survivors -those who loved the victims- as well as the reader. What the five had in common was that they were human beings, with tender sides and flaws and significant unrequited loves. There is nothing remarkable here, we are all built that way.Read more ›
The manifest story is simple. Five people have fallen to their death in Peru, and Brother Juniper seeks to prove the goodness of God by evaluating their lives to demonstrate exactly why bad things happen. Gently satirical, Wilder consigns poor Brother Juniper to a fitting end, for the chutzpah of attempting to decipher the mind of God with a moral calculus. Juniper has forgotten his Master's admonition, to "judge not." Hidden from Juniper's attempt to make sense of tragedy lay connections that he could never imagine, longings, love unrequited, and loneliness unimaginable. In the end, we learn, not WHY bad things happen, but the power and beauty that can rise from the ashes of tragedy.
Wilder tells snippets of stories, weaving lives together, in a way that goes unnoticed at first, then becomes subliminal, and finally explodes into consciousness at the end. While these lives and their interconnections are somewhat contrived, they effect a transformation, both of the story-line and the reader by the end of the book. Well worth reading a second time.<P...
The character studies that make up the bulk of the novel (which is really more of a novella given its brevity) are uniformly intriguing, and it is there that "Bridge" truly shines, in addition to Wilder's superb use of language. His portrait of the Marquesa, her servant Pepita, Esteban and his twin brother Manuel, and the Perichole are awe-inspiring glimpses into lives that feel full and true to life - an even greater achievement considering the short amount of time Wilder spends on each of them in order to move the plot forward. If it is more difficult to get a handle on other characters like the Archbishop, the viceroy, Jaime, and the enigmatic Uncle Pio we can forgive Wilder because they still fit the larger scheme of the novel and add to its compelling plot. What emerges from their intertwining lives is the realization that human lives are often too complex to be accurately affixed with such extreme labels as `good' or `bad'. Each has marks for them and against them, making an experiment like Brother Juniper's impossible to complete.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wanted to like it. I liked several passages and the idea of the story but it was a bit of a slog in parts.Published 9 days ago by RPick
This is a memorable book. A "Proto-Existentialist" theme. The simple phrasing is like a deepwater profundity.Published 9 days ago by James M Rosen
It seemed to be more interesting when I first read it years again but it was good to read it agaiun.Published 1 month ago by ann dicaterino
As if I'm qualified to rate a Thornton Wilder book. This is a wonderful book. Buy it and read it and share it.Published 1 month ago by David W.
I first read this in the 1960's. It brought up a great question: does a person have to be "religious" in the institutional sense to be a good, worthy person? Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
What is the meaning of one's life? Five people are crossing a bridge in Peru. It collapses killing all five. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Persistent Reader