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
"A masterpiece." (New York Herald Tribune)
"A melancholy narrative of great power, simplicity and beauty." (AudioFile)
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.
disapointing garbled narration
The story is good.
Difficult to understand his words in several parts.
no emotions except frustration
A new transplant to Long Island, NY that enjoys techno thrillers, apocalyptic, and epic stories. I used to fly through books during my hour commute--but now, I'm in the car about a quarter of that time :(
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.
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-
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.
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.
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.
Excellent plot with well developed characters. Universal morality tale.
Graham Greene's "The Power and the Glory."
Good grasp of characters and ability to express many emotions.
A Bridge to Eternity
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.
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.
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.
Only to try to return the book.
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.
Examination of the human heart.
The characters were brought to life.
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