The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Recognition and influence

In addition to its 1928 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, this novel has also been honored in other ways:

  • In 1998, the book was rated #37 by the editorial board of the American Modern Library on the list of the 100 best 20th-Century novels.
  • Time Magazine included the novel in its TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.[5]


  • This book was cited by John Hersey as a direct inspiration for his nonfiction work Hiroshima (1946).
  • Qui non riposano, a 1945 novel by Indro Montanelli takes inspiration from the novel.
  • David Mitchell's novel, Cloud Atlas, echoes the story in many ways, most explicitly through the character Luisa Rey.
  • Ayn Rand references the theme in Atlas Shrugged, her epic of a fictional USA's decline into an impoverished kleptocracy. In the aftermath of a disastrous collision in a railroad tunnel, she highlights train passengers who, in one way or another, promoted the moral climate that made the accident likely.
  • The book is mentioned in passing by a character in The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands, the third book in Stephen King's Dark Tower series.
  • The book is referred to in the Monk television episode, "Mr. Monk and the Earthquake", when Darryl Wright claims to Adrian Monk, Sharona Fleming and Gail Fleming to have written a Pulitzer Prize nominated article about five people who died in a bridge collapse. Monk, however, sees this as a lie.
  • The story is quoted on the cover of British Sea Power's album, The Decline of British Sea Power.
  • The popular US National Public Radio show "Car Talk" referred to the book in one of its famous "puzzlers" in June 2011. The puzzler related to the maximum weight which could be borne by a vehicle crossing the centuries-old "Bridge of Tom and Ray". Tom and Ray are the two presenters of the show.


  • The book was quoted by Tony Blair during the memorial service for victims of the September 11 attacks in 2001.
  • The book was cited during the 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse by Brian Williams of NBC News as well as Charlie Gibson of ABC News.

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