Updated: Aug 20, 2020
A philosophical tale, this story uses the adventures of a young man named Antonio to explore the heart of mankind. Antonio is a spirited orphan whose adoptive father teaches him many things about love, and tells him that he has built a bridge greater than the Ponte Vecchio and learned its secret. Antonio decides he too wishes to build a bridge that will make his father proud. Reaching manhood, he sets off to explore the world. At each new place, he finds work, meets new friends, and learns new truths about himself and about the humans around him. Periodically, he will commune with nature, sometimes taking on the form of the nature he is speaking to; a seagull, a wave, a tree, an eagle. He also encounters the personifications of happiness, fear, pride, malice, victory, and love and talks with each of them to uncover new revelation. After 20 years of exploring and working to save money to build his bridge, Antonio finally decides to return home to see his father and begin work on his bridge. But, a series of events leaves him penniless, all his hard work for naught. Will Antonio discover the secret to building his bridge?
I liked that Dushica decided to use this allegorical method to convey her philosophy to the world. Antonio’s quest reminds me of other philosophical sagas, such as The Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan), in which the point of the hero’s journey is about the discovery of truth more than the final destination. She also alludes to the gospel near the beginning of the book, and though Jesus is never mentioned by name, it is clear he is the “man of love” referred to, and who is pointed to as an example to live by.
Some favorite quotes from the book:
“When you’re doing what you love, your success depends on only one thing, the most important thing. Constantly improve what you’re doing until you become a professional. Then you won’t seek people because they will come to you!”
Pride is speaking: “There are two ways of living: one for which you’ve focused on success, and one where you’re focused on love. When you are focused on love, you may be successful but only you will know about your success. You’ll see it in the song of birds, in the glow of stars, and in the smiling glances of people around you, because all that will be a reaction to your love. If you’re focused on success, you’ll have to work hard to liberate yourself from me. And it’s hard to break away from me.”
Conversation with Malice: “Your words can’t change the laws of nature. Malice begets malice, and love awakens love.”
“The winner is not the one who responds to love with love, but the one that doesn’t respond to malice with malice!”