The Bridge of San Luis Rey

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

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August 15, 2023 | ISBN 9780593470954

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About the Book

This Pulitzer Prize-winning, fable-like short novel—by the author of Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth—has been beloved around the world for nearly a century.

This splendid and profoundly moving novel begins with a simple and seemingly senseless tragedy. "On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below." A traveling monk, Brother Juniper, witnesses the catastrophe and becomes obsessed with investigating the lives of the five victims in order to prove that their deaths had meaning. His mission is doomed to fail, but over the course of the story, the five unlucky individuals—a noblewoman, a maid, an orphan, an old man, and a child—come to life for the reader in all of their glorious complexity. Their intertwined lives—snuffed out in one shattering moment—illuminate the biggest questions that we can ask ourselves about the nature of love and meaning of the human condition.
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Praise for The Bridge of San Luis Rey

"A metaphysical study of love . . . [Wilder is] a new luminary in the planetary system of literature." The New York Times

"A masterpiece."The New York Herald Tribune

"There are books that haunt you down the years, books that seem to touch and stir something deep inside you. . . . The Bridge of San Luis Rey is of this kind." —The Independent (London)

"As close to perfect a moral fable as we are ever likely to get in American literature." —Russell Banks
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Vintage Classics Series

Lady Chatterley's Lover
The Best of Lupin
Orlando
Sunset Gun
The Bridge of San Luis Rey
God's Trombones
The Awakening and Selected Stories
Boris Godunov, Little Tragedies, and Others
Men Without Women
The Sun Also Rises
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About the Author

Thornton Wilder
Thornton Wilder (1897–1975) was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works exploring the connection between the commonplace and cosmic dimensions of human experience continue to be read and produced around the world. His Bridge of San Luis Rey, one of seven novels, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928, as did two of his four full-length dramas, Our Town (1938) and The Skin of Our Teeth (1943). Wilder's The Matchmaker was adapted as the musical Hello, Dolly! He also enjoyed enormous success with many other forms of the written and spoken word, among them teaching, acting, the opera, and films. (His screenplay for Hitchcock's Shadow of Doubt [1943] remains a classic psycho-thriller to this day.) Wilder's many honors include the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Book Committee's Medal for Literature. More by Thornton Wilder
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