"The Bridge of San Luis Rey" is a novel by Thornton Wilder that tells the story of five people who fall to their deaths when a bridge collapses in Peru. The novel follows the lives of the five victims leading up to the disaster, and also explores the themes of fate, religion, and the meaning of life.
The book begins with the story of Brother Juniper, a friar who witnesses the bridge collapse and becomes obsessed with understanding why it happened. He sets out to investigate the lives of the victims, and through his research, we learn about each of their stories.
There is Dona Maria, a wealthy and unhappy noblewoman; Captain Alvarado, a military officer who is struggling with his own personal demons; Esteban, a poor actor who is in love with Madre Maria, a nun; and Uncle Pio, a kind and generous old man.
As Brother Juniper delves deeper into the lives of these individuals, he begins to see patterns and connections that he believes may reveal the reason for their deaths. However, his theories are met with skepticism, and he is eventually put on trial for heresy.
The novel ends with the execution of Brother Juniper, who goes to his death still convinced that he has uncovered the mysteries of the bridge collapse. The book raises questions about the role of fate in our lives and the ways in which we try to make sense of tragedy.