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I highly recommend this novel, and enjoyed it thoroughly.
The story begins with the end – in Peru in 1714 a bridge collapses, killing five people. Brother Juniper, a monk who witnesses the disaster and is also fascinated with the idea of scientifically proving God’s existence, collects and analyzes the evidence of these victims’ lives, hoping to witness God’s plan.
We then are taken into the lives of the individuals who died on the bridge – who they were, how they lived, and what forces drew them to cross that bridge at that fateful moment. Though seemingly unrelated at first, they are in fact indirectly related to Camila Perichole, a former Peruvian actress.
Upon reading, I had initial fears that TBOSLR would depict the predictable 20th century existentialist world, where “God’s plan” is synonymous with “panacea” and that each of our lives is purposeless. Though I will not reveal the ending, Wilder steeres clear of this conclusion.
Sam Waterston’s voice (Law and Order) is excellent. Perhaps some do not like his plodding, tired style, but I feel it fits this novel perfectly.
Wilder's masterful accomplishment rests upon his proficiency in theatre. Limiting himself to only a few short scenes for each character, he perfectly encapsulates their motivations, dreams, fears, and essences. Readers will enjoy the depth of characters enclosed in such a brief novel.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
What aspect of Sam Waterston’s performance would you have changed?
Unlike other reviewers, I have no problems with Waterston's performance. However, two technical issues seriously detract from the listening experience. First, the sound is muffled, probably due to the performance having been originally a book on tape. Second, two of the audiobook's six chapters are out of order! The correct listening order should be 1, 2, 4, 3, 5, 6. Audible, most of the time I love your products, but you should correct problems like this, or at least warn us!
13 of 13 people found this review helpful