The Bridge of San Luis Rey
by Thornton Wilder
The Bridge of San Luis Rey is a 1927 novel by Thorton Wilder.
The book tells the story of several interrelated people who die in the collapse of an Inca rope bridge in Peru, and the events that lead up to their being on the bridge. A friar who witnesses the accident then goes about inquiring into the lives of the victims, seeking some sort of cosmic answer to the question of why each had to die.
The book is divided into five parts that explores the background of the victims and how their various paths lead to the same place on the fateful day of the bridge collapse. Wilder himself described the book as exploring the question of whether "there is a direction and meaning in lives beyond an individual's own will?"
It's a quick read that can be completed in under two hours. Nevertheless, it's a historically significant work having won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1928.