Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Title: The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Author: Thornton Wilder

Number of pages: 127

Started: 28 March 2012

Finished: 29 March 2012

Opening words:

On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travellers into the gulf below.

Plot summary:

An ancient bridge collapses over a gorge in Peru, hurling five people into the abyss. It seems a meaningless human tragedy. But one witness, a Franciscan monk, believes the deaths might not be as random as they appear. Convinced that the disaster is a punishment sent from Heaven, the monk sets out to discover all he can about the travellers. The five strangers were connected in some way, he thinks. There must be a purpose behind their deaths. But are their lost lives the result of sin? ... Or of love?

What I thought:

This book is one that people speak highly of. It won the Pulitzer prize in 1928. It is quoted by many, including Tony Blair at the 11 September memorial. It has an interesting premise. A philosophical bent to it. All wrapped up in a mere 127 pages.

But, for me, somehow it didn’t measure up. I didn’t find the book very engaging. I didn’t really feel there was much purpose behind it. Somehow, this book failed to register much with me at all. I believe I am likely to be in the minority on this, but despite its pedigree, this book did little for me, except take up a couple of hours of my life.


Sarah said...

It must be sheer contrariness, but despite what you have said you have made me want to read this book!

Was it the reputation of the book which inspired you to read it?

Random Reflections said...

Sarah - it was a book I had heard of and I saw it in the library a few times. It was such a slim volume that I figured there wasn't much to lose by giving it a go.

Given that I didn't really enjoy it, I am pleased that it was such a brief read. I would be interested to know what you think though - you tend to see more in a book than I do. My view on this book probably just illustrates my lack of insight!