The Bridge of San Luis Rey
By Thornton Wilder
The Bridge of San Luis Rey was very thought provoking. My book group had a fascinating discussion about the role God plays in our individual lives; some of the questions we asked ourselves included:
- Does God plan our death or do we die as a result of chance or circumstance?
- If we live when logic tells us we should have died is it the result of divine intervention/protection or simply luck?
- Do miracles happen or is everything, in essence, a miracle?
- When we die, do the people we leave behind sometimes benefit from our death?
- Is the world ever a better place without us?
- Does the result of our death change based on whether or not we were good or evil while we were alive?
- The book suggests people are judged on their goodness, piousness, and usefulness. Does one of these qualities hold greater value in terms of our influence on society? Do these qualities change the degree of which our death affects those we associate with?
The deep and unanswerable questions regarding death and God’s role in death provides a fascinating topic for discussion. I would definitely recommend The Bridge of San Luis Rey to someone contemplating this idea.
*I rate my books in 5 categories on a scale from 1-5 with 5 being the highest.
Historical Value- 3
Emotional Value- 3
Entertainment Value- 3
Personal Character Value- 5
Age recommendation-16 and up
“Now he discovered that secret from which one never quite recovers, that even in the most perfect love one person loves less profoundly than the other. There may be two equally good, equally gifted, equally beautiful, but there may never be two that love one another equally well.”
“There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”
“Either we live by accident and die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan.”
“The public for which masterpieces are intended is not of this earth.”
“Style is but the faintly contemptible vessel in which the bitter liquid is recommended to the world.”
“[Camila] was quite incapable of establishing any harmony between the claims of her art, of her appetites, or her dreams, and of her crowded daily routine. Each of these was a world in itself.”
"We do what we can. We push on, Esteban, as best we can. It isn't for long, you know. Time keeps going by. You'll be surprised at the way time passes.”
“The knowledge that she would never be loved in return acted upon her ideas as a tide acts upon cliffs.”
“But such occasions of excellence became less and less frequent. As her technique became sounder, [her] sincerity became less necessary.”
― Thornton Wilder