Friday, February 17, 2012

The Bridge of San Luis Rey (Pulitzer Winning Novel)

But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning. 
The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder won the 1928 Pulitzer Prize for the Novel. This slim novel can easily be read in an evening. The novel engages the part of the brain that listens to poetry or spends time looking at a painting. It does not have the feel of a story where the reader wonders what will happen next.

Briefly, a bridge collapses in Lima, Peru in 1714 and the five people on it die. The novel looks at the lives of the people on the bridge and at the people associated with them. To a certain extent their lives are intertwined. The novel looks at the meaning of their deaths. It also looks at love in its many forms.

The novel was over so quickly that I didn’t have much time to think about it. I am left with feelings and memories of snippets of different scenes. While I don’t have a concrete definition of literature, I know that I would put this novel in that category. It was well worth a few hours of my time.

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