- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Abacus; Reprint edition (July 9, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0349139210
- ISBN-13: 978-0349139210
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 101 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,126,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Bridge Paperback – July 9, 2013
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A stunning book, Bank s' powerful imagination is joined to a rare ability to be truly funny while exploring a nightmare world.―Sunday TIMES
Represents significant progress in the flowering of an exceptional talent...a totally absorbing read―The TIMES
It's compulsive reading and highly recommended.―Sunday TODAY
Iain Banks of THE WASP FACTORY eclipses that sensational debut...a real dazzler―DAILY MAIL
About the Author
Iain Banks came to widespread and controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, THE WASP FACTORY, in 1984. He gained enormous popular and critical acclaim for both his mainstream and his science fiction novels. Iain Banks died in June 2013.
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Banks' "Wasp Factory" is frequently called "One of the 20th century's 100 greatest novels". It pales in comparison to "The Bridge".
This multi-layered story had me telling my friends 'He has a lot of plates spinning, I don't see how he can wrap this up... bound to dissapoint'. Instead, Banks manages to ratchet upward toward the end. The physical metaphors present in his dream worlds become the vehicle to converge the story lines. A reader's 'informed suspicions' begin to come true.
In some venues, 'figuring it out too early' is a self-spoiler. In this book, each tiny confirmation of a foreshadowing becomes a progressive victory to the reader.
There is almost nothing I can say about the story itself without revealing some of the progression, and therefore undoing some of the satisfaction. Avoid the reviews that give a plot summary... just go read the book.
As a side note, I've read every one of Iain M. Banks "Science Fiction" novels. I put that in quotes because those books are thinly veiled political/social commentary. A post-scarcity society is just a backdrop to explore human motivation, and sometimes folly. I am now reading all of Iain Banks "literary" novels in order. I put that word in quotes because these novels are magnifying glasses, often wavy with distortion, held over human behavior... and almost always folly. Most of use only ahve to be struck between the eyebrows with a bloody great club a dozen or so times before things begin to penetrate. And Banks wields one of the heaviest clubs I've recently encountered.
The protagonist, never named, is wrenched from a hedonistic, but quite
successful, lifestyle into a long dreamful coma by a road accident on the
Forth bridge brought about, at least in part, by alcohol and marijuana. The
protagonist appears to resemble the author in many respects but one is never
sure to what extent, if any, this is actually autobiographical. The dreams, of a life
on a never-ending bridge, have a Coleridge-like quality, but, unlike Xanadu,
are apparently well remembered on the eventual emergence from the coma.
The reader probably has to be British, maybe even Scottish, to understand a
lot of what is going on here for its reflex far left, Scottish independence, drug
and alcohol besotted, women galore experience and outlook. That this guy
continues as a successful engineer is asserted but not well explored or explained;
this life would finish most of us.
All of the curious characters are finely wrought; John Orr and his dreams real and made up, his temptress Abberlaine Arrol, the barbarian swordsman and his familiar, Andrea and her lover(s).
Not unlike seeing some movies of late ("The 6th Sense" comes to mind) I felt ready and needing to reread "The Bridge" upon its conclusion. To help settle the images, ideas and plots that it had planted in my imagination, and because the delicious texture and pace of the novel invites the wish that it wouldn't end quite yet.
I can't call this CyberPunk, but it feels familiarly like it. I can't say that it's post-apocolyptic but it feels that way too. Two of my favorite genres disguised as the dark world of Iain Banks' "The Bridge".
An intense compelling read indeed!
history and the mysteries that unfold as the main character delves into the past and gets to know his grandmother
after he moves closer to her. Spellbinding!