Next Up: The Bridge Of San Luis Rey
The premise of my next book, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, is fascinating.
A suspension bridge built by the Incas in the 1300s in Peru collapses in 1714, causing 5 people to fall to their deaths. A friar witnesses the collapse and goes on a pursuit to determine why God allowed these 5 people to die.
Tons of interesting facts about The Bridge and its author, Thornton Wilder:
- The novel was published in 1927 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928.
- The bridge is fictional but it’s based on an Inca road suspension bridge over the Apurimac River in Peru, which was built in 1350 and still usable in the mid 1800s.
- The novel has been turned into three movies, all sharing the same name: The Bridge of San Luis Rey. The most recent movie (2004) starred Kathy Bates, Robert Deniro and Gabriel Byrne.
- Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair quoted the novel during his speech at the memorial service in 2001 for September 11 victims.
- The book was also mentioned during news coverage of the Minneapolis bridge collapse in 2007.
- In addition to appearing on the Time list, the book was rated #37 on the Modern Library list.
- Thornton Wilder wrote seven novels and dozens of plays, including Our Town, a Pulitzer winner for drama in 1938.
- He passed away in 1975, at the age of 78.
What did Time say?
In 1714, “the finest bridge in all Peru” collapses and five people plunge to their deaths. Brother Juniper, a Franciscan missionary, decides to track down their individual stories to prove that even what seem to be random misfortunes are consistent with God’s plan. That his discoveries turn out to be more complex will come as no surprise. What may surprise are the beguilements of Wilder’s teasing, ironic, beautifully written tale, unlike anything else in American fiction.
Since The Bridge of San Luis Rey, many novels and movies have followed its pattern: a group of people are killed during a single disastrous event and, through flashbacks, the story explores their lives leading up to the event and how they came together at that moment.
This novel sounds fantastic. Plus, it’s a Pulitzer winner…it has to be good, right? I can’t wait to dig in and see where it takes me.
Any thoughts on The Bridge Of San Luis Rey?