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The Bridge of San Luis Rey ()

Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century (37)

When the Bridge of San Luis Rey collapses, in Peru in 1714, and five travellers plummett to their deaths, Brother Juniper asks, "Why did this happen to those five?"  Wilder proceeds to tell us the stories of these travellers & we are asked to examine whether there is any reason that God would choose these specific people for this fate.

I remember reading this book in Junior High or High School and not getting it; I'm afraid I still don't.
I suppose the book's well written, but I just don't care that these people die and the ultimate lesson we're left with--there is a bridge of love that binds the living and the dead--just seems completely platitudinous.


Grade: (C)


Thornton Wilder Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Thornton Wilder
    -VIDEO: Our Town for Our Time: How Thornton Wilder’s Play Speaks to a Changing America and Around the World (Library of America, 5/02/22)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: A Reader’s Guide to Thornton Wilder’s Neglected “The Eighth Day” (Daniel J. Sundahl, June 24th, 2023, Imaginative Conservative)

Book-related and General Links:
The Thornton Wilder Page
    -REVIEW: Harry Levin: Global Villagers, NY Review of Books
         The Journals of Thornton Wilder, 1939-1961 selected and edited by Donald Gallup and foreword by Isabel Wilder
          The Enthusiast: A Life of Thornton Wilder by Gilbert A. Harrison