Bridge Of San Luis Rey

by Wilder, Thornton

The Bridge of San Luis Rey is American author Thornton Wilder's second novel, first published in 1927 to worldwide acclaim. It tells the story of several interrelated people who die in the collapse of an Inca rope-fiber suspension bridge in Peru, and the events that lead up to their being on the bridge. A friar who has witnessed the tragic accident then goes about inquiring into the lives of the victims, seeking some sort of cosmic answer to the question of why each had to die.

First Edition Identification and Notes

The first general issue edition of this book was actually released in London, a few days before the first American edition.  In the United States, the first edition was preceded by a very limited "preliminary" print run of around 22 copes, identifiable in part by the lack of a thin green border and printer's device on the title page.  The first general edition in the US comprised somewhere between 7,000 and 9,000 copies.

Reviews

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On Oct 5, 2010, sergerca said:
We all have a worldview (don't we?) that influences just about everything we encounter. Literature is no exception. Perhaps that is why I thought the main point of Thornton Wilder's outstanding The Bridge of San Luis Rey was so obvious.In many of the reviews I've read, many have stated that Wilder leaves the main conclusion up to the reader. I must disagree. The final line, so quoted by many of the reviewers, makes it all very clear to me. "All those impulses of love return to the love that made them." Perhaps, had Wilder capitalized the second "love" more would have drawn the same conclusion as I. That love is, of course, the love of the Father. This short book is rooted in Christian realism -- summed up in that final page. Life and God's ways as they pertain to life, are a mystery to the believer. Seemingly saintly people die far too early in inexplicable circumstances-- a bridge that has lasted for centuries one day breaks under the weight of an old woman, a cripple, an old man, a young girl, and a young man. But the "why" is not for us to know. We all must live in the comfort that it is His will that reigns, not ours, and that the love which sustained us in this life will see us to the next. Perhaps Brother Juniper found his answer. I know I recognized mine.

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