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The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927)

by Thornton Wilder

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,937992,183 (3.79)189
This beautiful new edition features unpublished notes for the novel and other illuminating documentary mate- rial, all of which is included in a new Afterword by Tappan Wilder. "On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714,the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below." With this celebrated sentence Thornton Wilder begins The Bridge of San Luis Rey, one of the towering achievements in American fiction and a novel read throughout the world. By chance, a monk witnesses the tragedy. Brother Juniper then embarks on a quest to prove that it was divine intervention rather than chance that led to the deaths of those who perished in the tragedy. His search leads to his own death -- and to the author's timeless investigation into the nature of love and the meaning of the human condition.… (more)
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» See also 189 mentions

English (97)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (99)
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
When the ancient woven bridge collapses in Peru, 5 lives are lost.
This tells a brief story of those people and how their lives had intersected before the accident. It also tells of the people who loved them. ( )
  LindaLeeJacobs | Feb 15, 2020 |
strangely moving. a masterclass in characterisation, summary, and an interesting structure that breeds pathos and bittersweet irony ( )
  boredgames | Feb 2, 2020 |
I read this book several years ago and this reread confirmed what I knew back then, Wilder can write!
Five people in Peru are crossing a bridge when in an instant they all are plunging to their deaths in the valley below.
Certainly poetic in style this little novella invites the reader to think about fate, destiny and happenstance. Every reader will walk away with a different interpretation of the events related here and too the aftermath inflicted upon those who were left behind.
A classic that will never grow old. ( )
  Carmenere | Dec 15, 2019 |
We almost all read this in high school, but it was wasted on us. The text itself suggests that unless one has loved, then it doesn't make sense.

I read an edition published by HarperCollins which included a wonderful afterword, which I much enjoyed (skip the forward by Russell Banks and read it last) but it was disconcerting to turn the page and realize I'd already read the last line. I was so moved by the last paragraph (not knowing it was the last paragraph) that I made a note to copy the bottom of pg.107 - and discovered the next 30 pages were entirely other.

Last paragraph: worth copying, but not until you've reread the novel.

( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
Det er yderst sjældent, jeg støder på bøger, der så ømt, så elegant, så poetisk og så smukt formår at beskrive kærligheden i al dens skrøbelighed, selvmodsigelse, styrke og smerte. ( )
  thomasbaldur | Apr 25, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
It is no exaggeration to say that on second reading I was completely blown away, not so much by Wilder's sensitive treatment of his central theme as by the richness and power of his prose.

It is an entirely remarkable book, it has lost none of its pertinence in the eight decades since its publication, and I'm very glad indeed that my old friend sent me back to it.
 

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wilder, ThorntonAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abrahams-van Raalte, J.H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bergsma, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Charlot, JeanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drevenstedt, AmyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hicks, GranvilleIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kent, RockwellIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koene, SimonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leighton, ClareIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perlstein-van Raalte, A. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My Mother
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On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travellers into the gulf below.
Foreword

Thornton Wilder's Bridge of San Luis Rey is as close to perfect a moral fable as we are ever likely to get in American literature.
Quotations
Either we live by accident and die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan. And on that instant Brother Juniper made the resolve to inquire into the secret lives of those five persons, that moment falling through the air, and to surprise the reason of their taking off.
…the Conde delighted in her letters, but he thought that when he had enjoyed the style he had extracted all their richness and intention, missing (as most readers do) the whole purport of literature, which is the notation of the heart. Style is but the faintly contemptible vessel in which the bitter liquid is recommended to the world.
Some days he regarded his bulk ruefully; but the distress of remorse was less poignant that the distress of fasting.
His favourite notions: that the poor, never having known happiness, are insensible to misfortune.... that only the widely read could be said to KNOW that they were unhappy.
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This beautiful new edition features unpublished notes for the novel and other illuminating documentary mate- rial, all of which is included in a new Afterword by Tappan Wilder. "On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714,the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below." With this celebrated sentence Thornton Wilder begins The Bridge of San Luis Rey, one of the towering achievements in American fiction and a novel read throughout the world. By chance, a monk witnesses the tragedy. Brother Juniper then embarks on a quest to prove that it was divine intervention rather than chance that led to the deaths of those who perished in the tragedy. His search leads to his own death -- and to the author's timeless investigation into the nature of love and the meaning of the human condition.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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HighBridge

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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