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Few novels identify their basic plotline as succinctly and forthrightly as the opening line of Thornton Wilder’s 1927 novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey: “On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travellers into the gulf below.” The novel’s conceit is this: a certain Brother Juniper was himself about to step out onto the bridge when it broke and subsequently witnessed the plunge of five people into the abyss below. Brother Juniper wonders if the tragedy happened according to a divine plan or was simply a random instance of misfortune. His curiosity leads him to investigate the lives of the five victims to prove that the bridge collapse and the resulting deaths were indeed divine intervention—that God intended for them to die then and there. But, of course, the point of the novel is that there is no commonality among them, other than the fact that they are all simply human, with their own frailties. Wilder ends his at-once urgent and serene novel with this haunting passage: “But soon we shall die and all memory of these five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. 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.” --Brad Hooper
"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
"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.See all Editorial Reviews
Great novel. It was also interesting. My son needed it for a class project and I read it too. We both loved it.Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
Not your usual story. Thought provoking. Well worth reading the short book. I'm still thinking about it.Published 18 days ago by MC
Wilder writes with such grace, that one can't help but be drawn into his writing. He wastes no words in this short, but sweet novel. Read morePublished 1 month ago by ME
If I hadn't read a competent literary review, I would have had little or no understanding of what some people think the book is about, or of why it's a "classic. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Harley Mazuk
When I was nearly done with the book, I was disappointed in it. The part that won me over was the very end. Read morePublished 2 months ago by LF