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But for Brother Juniper, a humble Franciscan friar who witnesses the catastrophe, the question is inescapable: Why those five? Suddenly, Brother Juniper is committed to discover what manner of lives these five disparate people led and whether it was divine intervention that took their lives, or a capricious fate.
Wilder maintained in his works that true meaning and beauty are found in ordinary experience. This is especially true of "The Bridge of San Luis Rey." From the very beginning to the stunning conclusion, the listener is absorbed into the individual stories of the five victims, and how their destinies intertwine.