The Bridge

The Bridge

by Iain Banks


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The man who wakes up in the extraordinary world of a bridge has amnesia, and his doctor doesn't seem to want to cure him. Does it matter? Exploring the bridge occupies most of his days. But at night there are his dreams. Dreams in which desperate men drive sealed carriages across barren mountains to a bizarre rendezvous; an illiterate barbarian storms an enchanted tower under a stream of verbal abuse; and broken men walk forever over bridges without end, taunted by visions of a doomed sexuality.
Lying in bed unconscious after an accident wouldn't be much fun, you'd think. Oh yes? It depends who and what you've left behind.
Which is the stranger reality, day or night? Frequently hilarious and consistently disturbing, THE BRIDGE is a novel of outrageous contrasts, constructed chaos and elegant absurdities.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780349139210
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 09/01/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 613,160
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.10(d)

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.

Table of Contents

COMA 1(92)
EOCENE 177(60)
CODA 237

Customer Reviews

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Bridge 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Felonious More than 1 year ago
So far I have thoroughly enjoyed every book by Iain [M.] Banks I've read. 'The Bridge' is no exception. The Bridge was a strange and surreal ride. It starts with an auto accident and a man falling into a coma. In the coma he finds himself in a strange world (living in a city on a bridge), not knowing who he is or of life before the bridge. The bridge lies between the city and the kingdom. His life is filled with strange happenings, bizarre dreams all the while reality is bleeding through. The story takes you through parts of his life before the accident, his life in the coma and his dreams which are more like nightmares. The different story lines all have elements from his real life. Regrets, choices made, choices that need to be made and the internal battle he must fight. When I was finished reading the story I was totally satisfied and happy to be alive. This is another book that I would only recommend to adults not just because of the sex and violence but because Iain [M.} Banks is such a good writer he can make you feel the desperation, hopelessness and horror on such a deep level it will leave some readers feeling a bit uneasy (until you finish the book). Several of the books I have read by Banks have been dark and emotionally straining at times but he (Banks) always manages to have the perfect ending (some happy, some not so happy) that leaves me with a feeling of awe and a desire to read more.
kevinashley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is not a typical Iain Banks novel; nor is it a typical english novel. Which is not to say that it is revolutionary, or strikingly different in form, or that it says something striking which other novels have yet to do, because it is none of these things.What it is is a halfway house between the novels of Iain Banks, an occasionally controversial writer of fiction, and Iain M. Banks, the widely-lauded writer of science fiction. Who are, of course, one and the same person. Until now, though, I thought Banks had managed to keep his two authorial voices well separated. In this novel, there are clear signs of one world appearing in another.The story opens with a car crash, and then undergoes a number of abrupt changes. Three stories are interwoven. One is of a man living in a society which appears to be confined entirely to an apparently endless bridge, with many levels and a complex society. Another relates a serious of fantasy adventures of a Glaswegian (well, he speaks that way) swordsman who appears to occasionally have got trapped up in some classical Greek myths. And another of a man who goes to university in the 1960s in Edinburgh and meets the love of his life, although it takes him some time to realise it. The first two stories clearly don't take place in any real world, and it is here that Bank's SF voice emerges, even including the knife missiles that appear in some of his Culture stories.The thread that ties these together is not particularly original and was obvious to this reader from the outset (as it was to at least one other reviewer) but it appears that this isn't the case for everyone so I I'll refrain from alluding to it. But it doesn't detract from the readability of the tale or the engagement with the characters. In fact, this is one of Bank's most likeable non-SF works, with characters I cared more about than in many of his other books. The end is more uplifting than he is usually given to, and devoid of the cataclasmyic or violent ends of which he is so fond (although some of that does seep into at least one of the fantasy worlds.) And all of that is a good thing.This is a touching picture of people in love growing up and watching the world change around them mixed in with a bit of magic realism, trains, drink and bridges. If that sounds like your thing, you'll like it. Even if it doesn't, you might still like it.
gward101 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pretentious? Moi? (see review dated immediately before this one). Not one of my favourite of Iain Banks' books I must admit, but I did enjoy it. Does that make me pretentious? Tastes differ people, let's try to keep reviews civil.
Karlstar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is pseudo-fantasy or plain fiction from Banks. The Bridge is a seemingly infinite, self-contained structure, no one sees the ends of the Bridge and no one leaves it. The book is about society in a very restricted sense, in this case, the Bridge society is very 'vertical' - the higher up you are, the higher up you are... Banks gets in his usual shots against society and religion, though by the end of the book, I was really wondering if it had much of a point. There are many dream sequences that may or may not have something to do with the main plot. I read it, but can't really say I enjoyed it that much.
ragwaine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having read The Wasp Factory and Against a Dark Background I expected a lot from this book that had been sitting on my shelf for somewhere around 10 years. In someways I was disappointed but it was still a fairly enjoyable experience.The sections on the bridge reminded me a lot Kafka's The Castle but better. The modern sections bored me (as most non-fantastic fiction does - with Philip Roth being the exception). The dreams were very cool, especially the trip to hell. Without the dreams the book would have been a waste of time. Still I thought he could have drop 40-50 pages to make it the perfect length. I didn't really enjoy the "off the bridge" part of the bridge sections.So I liked it but wouldn't really recommend it to anyone especially since Banks has a bunch of other books that are better.
xtien on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a brilliant book that gradually gets you into the world of someone dreaming, someone turned crazy. Only when you read the last pages, you understand. One of Banks' best.
catapogo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A bit chaotic, but an interesting and compelling read. Despite the fantasy trappings it's more about the main character's life, and although these parts of the book are more 'mundane' in some ways they are more interesting.
grizzly.anderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Generally, I'm a pretty big Banks fan, but this one just didn't work for me. Some reviews note have mentioned a surprise or revelation at the end that made the story work. Frankly, I was pretty certain from the first chapter what the ending was going to be. As a result, the chaotic story line just didn't do anything for me. I didn't find out much of anything about the narrator, and he didn't find out much of anything about himself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago