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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.
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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)

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (262 )
5 star
 (78)
4 star
 (80)
3 star
 (62)
2 star
 (23)
1 star
 (19)
Overall
3.8 (143 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (12)
1 star
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Story
3.6 (147 )
5 star
 (39)
4 star
 (50)
3 star
 (31)
2 star
 (11)
1 star
 (16)
Performance
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  •  
    Roy Castillo Dorantes California 05-26-14
    Roy Castillo Dorantes California 05-26-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Boring due to the reader's low and sleepy tone"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A better reader, someone who read it with some heart and volume to the voice.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Thornton Wilder again?

    It wasn't Wilder's problem - it was the reader, Mr. Sam Waterson. I will not buy or listen to anything by Mr. Waterson again.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Low voice and sleepy tonality.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    Redo the book with another reader, being careful to the quality of the voice and tonality.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    qhumberd 05-17-14
    qhumberd 05-17-14
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    "Wonderful story, worst audio quality"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, I would have them read it


    What other book might you compare The Bridge of San Luis Rey to and why?

    This book was unique; it had features of Hemmingway's Old Man and the Sea


    How could the performance have been better?

    Sam Waterston did a good job, but the audio quality made listening a challenge


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No; it is an introspective story


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Fayetteville, PA, United States 11-12-12
    Bill Fayetteville, PA, United States 11-12-12 Member Since 2010
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    "A well constructed and thoughtful story"
    Would you listen to The Bridge of San Luis Rey again? Why?

    Excellent plot with well developed characters. Universal morality tale.


    What other book might you compare The Bridge of San Luis Rey to and why?

    Graham Greene's "The Power and the Glory."


    What does Sam Waterston bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Good grasp of characters and ability to express many emotions.


    If you could rename The Bridge of San Luis Rey, what would you call it?

    A Bridge to Eternity


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Klein Rocketville, Maryland - USA 10-27-12
    R. Klein Rocketville, Maryland - USA 10-27-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "The sound quality drags this one down"
    What did you like best about The Bridge of San Luis Rey? What did you like least?

    I didn't like the sound quality at all. It's muffled, which, combined with the somewhat flat reading, makes the story just drone on and on. The story goes into significant depth about the characters, but I simply gave up on starting the second of five stories. While the stories might be interesting, I don't recommend this audiobook on the simple lack of audio quality. You can get a good idea of it in the audio sample.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The concept of the story seems interesting, but ultimately, I was finding the details, coupled with the difficulty in hearing it just not worth the effort.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Certainly a clearer recording - that didn't sound like it was made on a cassette recorder 35 years ago. It must be a rather old recording, transferred from tape.

    And as much as I've always liked Sam Waterson as an actor, I found his reading flat to the point of becoming a drone.


    Did The Bridge of San Luis Rey inspire you to do anything?

    Only to try to return the book.


    Any additional comments?

    The recording quality is probably a disservice to the writing. Sorry to write such a negative review. I think this might be a book better read off the printed page than this recording.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Harrisonville, NJ, United States 02-21-12
    George Harrisonville, NJ, United States 02-21-12 Member Since 2011
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    2
    2
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    Story
    "True American Literature"
    If you could sum up The Bridge of San Luis Rey in three words, what would they be?

    Examination of the human heart.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The psychology.


    What does Sam Waterston bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The characters were brought to life.


    If you could rename The Bridge of San Luis Rey, what would you call it?

    Lives completed.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kansas Mom 11-29-11
    Kansas Mom 11-29-11
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    "A very compelling story performed well."

    A very thought provoking story. Incredibly enjoyable and well performed. Characters have depth and are realistic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Milford, PA, United States 01-28-11
    Donald Milford, PA, United States 01-28-11 Member Since 2000
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    "Soothing narration"

    At first I was surprised by the lack of polish in Sam Waterston's narration, for example, you can hear him inhaling at the end of sentences and he provides no change of voice to emphasize characters or moods. However, I quickly concluded that the narration was perfect for this philosophical novella about fate, love, and life. It is like a wise and favorite uncle talking to you. I found it comforting and soothing, as befitting the message of the final section of the book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 10-13-13
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 10-13-13 Member Since 2007

    A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better read than listened to?"

    Maybe this book is better taken in via reading it, rather than listening, for it lacked a compelling reason to stay with it. While I did complete the novel, I was left wanting more, wishing it was better, wishing for the profound.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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