Classic book: Thornton's

Evening Post, 5 Jan 2006

The Bridge of San Luis Rey Thornton Wilder, Penguin Modern Classics, £6.99

The bridge snaps in the first sentence, and five people die: every character you are meant to care for. But a delicate sort of suspense still grips the reader all the way through this short, self-consciously exquisite tale. You see, a Franciscan friar has witnessed the disaster, and he wants to know why God took this particular five. We follow his investigations, learning the stories of the victims from the decidedly more sympathetic perspective of Thornton Wilder, before discovering his conclusions. A bit precious by today’s standard, but the balance is perfectly held.