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The Bridge of San Luis Rey: 09/08/08
The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder was the 1928 Pulitzer Prize winner. Set in Peru this historical fiction explores the ways in which the actions of individuals might play together in some great cosmic whole. The novel traces the lives of three of five victims of an Incan rope bridge and the friar who decides to use the tragedy to finally prove God's existence.
The first and final chapters focus on the bridge and friar while the middle three trace the lives of three of the dead: the Marquesa de Monte mayer, Esteban, and Uncle Pio. Although brother Juniper sets out to document every detail of their lives he never learns "the central passion of Doña María's life; nor of Uncle Pio's, not even Esteban's." (p. 7). The randomness of life and the secret driving forces of people is a central theme of The Bridge of San Luis Rey.
Although the novel is only 116 pages, being really more of a novella than a novel, it is one that needs to be read slowly and pondered. I reread a number of passages feeling comfortable taking the time to rethink what I'd just read since I wasn't committed to a lengthier work. For its turn of phrase and its location, I was reminded a bit of Isabel Allende's novels.
Comment #1: Wednesday, September, 10, 2008 at 21:56:49
This is one book I've always wanted to read but have just never got around to. I'll have to start looking for it at the thrift shops and read it soon."
Comment#2: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 22:42:34
Your local library might have a copy too. Happy reading.