We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
The Bridge of San Luis Rey | [Thornton Wilder]

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Wilder's stories consistently explored the connections between the commonplace and cosmic dimensions of human experience, always returning to fundamental questions about the meaning of life. This Pulitzer Prize-winning tale concerns the lives of five people who fall to their deaths from a Peruvian rope bridge in 1714. A humble Franciscan, Brother Juniper, witnesses the accident and determines to learn about the lives of the victims in order to find out whether this accident happened by chance or by plan.
Regular Price:$16.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

The Bridge of San Luis Rey, first published in 1927, was Thornton Wilder's first major work and won him instant international recognition. The story concerns the lives of five people who fall to their deaths on July 20, 1714, when a rope bridge breaks on a road near Lima, Peru. A humble Franciscan, Brother Juniper, witnesses the accident and determines to learn about the lives of the victims in order to find out whether this accident happened by chance or by plan.

Again and again, the novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder explores in his works the connections between the commonplace and cosmic dimensions of human experience, always returning to fundamental questions about the meaning of life.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey, one of the true great American classics, has been translated into more than 30 languages. The book won Wilder the first of his three Pulitzer Prizes.

©1927 Albert and Charles Boni Inc., ©1955 renewed by Thornton Wilder; (P)1997 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

  • Pulitzer Prize winner

"A masterpiece." (New York Herald Tribune)
"A melancholy narrative of great power, simplicity and beauty." (AudioFile)

More from the same

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (252 )
5 star
 (78)
4 star
 (76)
3 star
 (59)
2 star
 (21)
1 star
 (18)
Overall
3.8 (134 )
5 star
 (50)
4 star
 (37)
3 star
 (30)
2 star
 (10)
1 star
 (7)
Story
3.6 (138 )
5 star
 (39)
4 star
 (47)
3 star
 (27)
2 star
 (10)
1 star
 (15)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Tobin Alton, IL, USA 03-30-06
    Tobin Alton, IL, USA 03-30-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    211
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    24
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Compact novel about fate, destiny"

    I highly recommend this novel, and enjoyed it thoroughly.

    The story begins with the end – in Peru in 1714 a bridge collapses, killing five people. Brother Juniper, a monk who witnesses the disaster and is also fascinated with the idea of scientifically proving God’s existence, collects and analyzes the evidence of these victims’ lives, hoping to witness God’s plan.

    We then are taken into the lives of the individuals who died on the bridge – who they were, how they lived, and what forces drew them to cross that bridge at that fateful moment. Though seemingly unrelated at first, they are in fact indirectly related to Camila Perichole, a former Peruvian actress.

    Upon reading, I had initial fears that TBOSLR would depict the predictable 20th century existentialist world, where “God’s plan” is synonymous with “panacea” and that each of our lives is purposeless. Though I will not reveal the ending, Wilder steeres clear of this conclusion.

    Sam Waterston’s voice (Law and Order) is excellent. Perhaps some do not like his plodding, tired style, but I feel it fits this novel perfectly.

    Wilder's masterful accomplishment rests upon his proficiency in theatre. Limiting himself to only a few short scenes for each character, he perfectly encapsulates their motivations, dreams, fears, and essences. Readers will enjoy the depth of characters enclosed in such a brief novel.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Chicago, IL 08-09-11
    Michael Chicago, IL 08-09-11 Member Since 2010

    A lover of thrillers and enthralling stories told by dramatic and well read narrators.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Couldn't hear it"

    I'm sure that this is an amazing tome of fate and the like, but the audio quality is so bad that I asked for a refund. I can't understand the narrator.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 08-14-13
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 08-14-13 Member Since 2006

    My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    248
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    203
    169
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    18
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Short but profound"

    This is a short but profound meditation on the moments that can bring a sense of reconciliation and redemption to our lives, and how we misunderstand or misinterpret even those we are closest to. I remain somewhat mystified as to why he chose to base this, however loosely, on actual historical persons, or why he dislocated them in time from their actual historical dates. For that matter, I remain mystified as to why the book's internal timeline refuses to behave itself. None of this detracts from the beauty and concision of this gem of a book.

    The recording has mysteries of its own. Sam Waterston is a fine actor and his reading is full of expressive nuances, but for some reason the sound is muddy. I can't tell if this is because it's an old transfer from tape, or if Mr. Waterston's voice is pitched oddly, or because he lacks that special clipped diction that makes other readers more listenable. Maybe my hearing is just suffering from old age.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron St. Louis, MO, United States 08-06-10
    Aaron St. Louis, MO, United States 08-06-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    84
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    150
    32
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Strong Moral Questions Contained Within"

    As perfect as a novel can get. Very short...but fervid with the hard questions we sometimes don't think of asking ourselves. "Why am I on this earth?" "What led me to this point?" Very modern in construction but a period piece. The most memorable characters in literature. The reader...not great. I LOVE Sam Waterston but his reading is very quiet, very breathy and emphysemaed. Perhaps previous he was kicked in the chest by a mule?

    Book: A Reader: C-

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gayle Mair asheville, nc United States 09-13-12
    Gayle Mair asheville, nc United States 09-13-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "narration enormous disappointment"
    If you could sum up The Bridge of San Luis Rey in three words, what would they be?

    disapointing garbled narration


    What was most disappointing about Thornton Wilder’s story?

    The story is good.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Difficult to understand his words in several parts.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    no emotions except frustration


    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Padma devi California 05-08-12
    Padma devi California 05-08-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    128
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "narrator mumbled"

    I might have enjoyed this book more if I could have understood more of the words. The narrator mumbled and swallowed his words. Seemed like he was running out of breath at the end of a sentence so one could not hear what he was saying.
    Difficult to enjoy the story the reading was so poor.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RKL Sewickley, PA 11-15-13
    RKL Sewickley, PA 11-15-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent Story, But Poor Audiobook Technically"
    What aspect of Sam Waterston’s performance would you have changed?

    Unlike other reviewers, I have no problems with Waterston's performance. However, two technical issues seriously detract from the listening experience. First, the sound is muffled, probably due to the performance having been originally a book on tape. Second, two of the audiobook's six chapters are out of order! The correct listening order should be 1, 2, 4, 3, 5, 6. Audible, most of the time I love your products, but you should correct problems like this, or at least warn us!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kwt Orem, Utah United States 07-09-13
    kwt Orem, Utah United States 07-09-13 Member Since 2012

    mama_karen

    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    102
    35
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Classic literature"
    Any additional comments?

    I have read this book several times, but listening to it was somehow different. I enjoy listening to Sam despite what others have said. I love this book and would have to say it is on my top ten list of books that have affected the way I think about the world. I highly recommend it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Cherry Hill, NJ, USA 01-24-08
    William Cherry Hill, NJ, USA 01-24-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Is Waterson dying?"

    I started listening to this audiobook having forgotten that Sam Waterson was the narrator, if I ever knew. Fifteen minutes into it I wondered who was the terminally-ill emphysemic Audible had recruited to ruin this download for me. I was shocked to read it was an actor, a well-known one at that.
    Waterson is constantly running out of breath at the end of sentences. His tone lacks all nuance, let alone any emotion. It is dry, dull, gasping, wheezing, colorless and hard to hear.
    Otherwise, Waterson is a fine choice.
    Don't quit your day job, Sam.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    elizabeth in la plata 06-18-14 Member Since 2013

    elizabeth in la plata

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not a good reading"
    What did you like best about The Bridge of San Luis Rey? What did you like least?

    Actually the story isn't very good! I expected better. And the reader wasn't really suited to this type of book.


    What was most disappointing about Thornton Wilder’s story?

    Boring story, annoying reader.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sam Waterston’s performances?

    Maybe.


    Could you see The Bridge of San Luis Rey being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    N/A


    Any additional comments?

    N/A

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 18 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.