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Bridge Over The Drina [Paperback]

Ivo Andric , Lovett F. Edwards
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 9.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

5 April 1994

In the small Bosnian town of Visegrad the stone bridge of the novel's title, built in the sixteenth century on the instruction of a grand vezir, bears witness to three centuries of conflict. Visegrad has long been a bone of contention between the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, but the bridge survives unscathed until 1914, when the collision of forces in the Balkans triggers the outbreak of World War I.

The bridge spans generations, nationalities and creeds, silent testament to the lives played out on it. Radisav, a workman, tried to hinder its construction and is impaled alive on its highest point; beautiful Fata leaps from its parapet to escape an arranged marriage; Milan, inveterate gamble, risks all in one last game on it. With humour and compassion, Andric chronicles the lives of Catholics, Moselms and Orthodox Christians unable to reconcile their disparate loyalties.

Frequently Bought Together

Bridge Over The Drina + Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia + The Balkans: 1804 - 2012: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Press; New Ed edition (5 April 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860460585
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860460586
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"The wealth and variety of its fictional elements carry it so far beyond the confines of a straightforward novel, it cannot be limited to such a description. It puts one in mind of a collection of tales, but no collection of tales (not even A Thousand and One Nights or Washington Irving's stories) ever possessed such a unity and continuity of theme." (George Perec Le Monde)

"The best kind of fictionalised history." (Daily Telegraph)

"Andric possess the rare gift in a historical novelist of creating a period-piece, full of local colour, and at the same time characters who might have been living today." (Times Literary Supplement)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The trouble with the Balkans 15 Dec 2005
This literary masterpiece is mandatory reading in Bosnian schools. Readers who wish to enjoy the literary prose should feel free to take pleasure in the spectacular writing style without concerning themselves of the politics of the turbulent Balkans.
Those who wish to have a snap shot understanding of the history of the Balkans will find it in the small village near the river Drina.
The book has been criticised for its terminology especially the use of the word Turks. It should be remembered that this was perhaps reflective of the view of the Serb at the time. Without the venom the history and understanding will be lost. The book reflects the view of a population invaded and dominated by a foreign country. There is a message of hope in the book but, more importantly an understanding of how the ambitions of a few can affect the daily life of the many. On completing the book the reader will have an impressive understanding of how discrimination can lead to 700 years of hated whilst still feeling a member of this ancient village. The book is an enjoyable tale of when life was cruel, simple and unpredictable. Enjoy it or analyse it the choice is yours!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall a good read. 5 Jun 2004
By A Customer
A book which beautifully describes the history of a small Bosnian town through the eyes of the ethnic Serbs (Bosnian Muslims play a very passive role in the book and Croats are barely mentioned in the book until the end and are generally referred to as 'migrants' to the area)
The book is focused on a bridge built by an Ottoman Pasha descended from the town who was taken away as a child, converted to Islam and intergrated into the Ottoman aristocracy. Not forgetting his place of birth he embellishes his home town with a bridge and small caravanserai that it may serve as a stop off point for the trade routes between Ottoman Hungary and Anatolia.
What makes this book special is its descriptions of the ordinary people of the town, and the life of the town over the centuries from Ottoman rule to Austro-Hungarian occupation, the only negative side of the book is the translators odd reference to Bosnias Muslims as 'Turks' which even from reading the book one can see that they are not.
Overall a good read
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breathtaking and beautiful book. 6 Aug 2000
By A Customer
You must buy this book. If you have any interest in beautiful writing, humanity, and European history, it is completely indispensable. Andric uses the bridge over the river Drina as a constant against the background of shifting empires, personal tragedies, broken gamblers and distraught lovers, and gives a much more compelling vision of Bosnian identity than any journalist or historian ever could. An absolutely brilliant book one of the best you will ever read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, not sure about the translation 19 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved this book written by the Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andri'. It is amazing how often we come into contact with historic monuments without giving a second thought as to the history behind it. Apart from being a fascinating histroy lesson and an extraordinary collection of stories for me this book was also a study in human nature. The building of a bridge which was of unquestionable benefit to everyone was however sabotaged by some who were prepared to sacrifice their lives rather than let it be completed for no other logical reason than they didn't like change. I would have to say though there is one chapter in the book that is definitely not for the squeamish.

My only reservation is I found a lot of grammatical mistakes and the English a little hard to follow at times and I don't know whether it was down to the translation or the style of writing. My wife (who is Croatian and had read the original) felt the same and pointed out where she thought some of the confusion may have arisen. Non of this detracted from my enjoyment of this book and I would recommend it to anyone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Politics as prose 29 Oct 2006
Beatiful, haunting socio-historical work. At times its poignancy just made me stop dead. Awesome scope. The complexities of Balkan politics and the pain that has resulted is well publicised and still exists; many of the Reviews still represent it. I would invite people to read this in a particular way, as I first did barely into my 20's, as a pure novel. Why? because even from that perspective it is an amazingly beautiful piece of literature, in some respects it has a magical, surreal feel to it, which for me speaks of the time and place.

Some 20 years later and with the hindsight of the modern day upheavals in the Balkans now seen as history, this book takes on even more significance and grand proportions. I dont want to enter into the politics of the book itself, its use of language etc etc because I dont want to diminish the central reality, this is a work of art.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Flembo
This wonderful piece chronicles a period of history in Bosnia. Central to the book is a bridge crossing the river Drina which withstands time and becomes the proverbial rock on which the people rely. Surrounding it are myriad characters, relationships and events. From upon the bridges stones are revealed the hearts and minds of locals and occupiers, young and old, clerics and scholars.
The author succeeds in portraying the complexities of the regionns history while alluding to the pain and joy many have experienced in creating it.
Highly recommended
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea
We read this book for our book group and it received very mixed opinions, from those who absolutely loved it to those, like me, who found it a bit of a slog. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Lelly
5.0 out of 5 stars A little known classic
This is a Nobel prize winning masterpiece - but unfortunately little known by many. Having a random interest in the Balkans I bought this book - in honesty a little sceptical that... Read more
Published 9 months ago by William Summers
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful, Nobel-Prize winning literature
This book, which won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961, is essentially the centuries-long tale of the Mehmed Pasha Bridge that today still spans the River Drina in the Bosnian... Read more
Published 17 months ago by K. Maric
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing History of a Divided Land
Awarded the Nobel prize this history of Vizegrad and the bridge there tells the story of 300 years of life in the Bosnian town, up to 1914, when parts of the bridge were blown up. Read more
Published 17 months ago by gerardpeter
4.0 out of 5 stars A bridge to the history of the Balkans
The titular bridge was built in the now-Bosnian town of Visegrad by the Ottomans in the 16th century. Read more
Published on 12 Dec 2011 by jacr100
1.0 out of 5 stars Work of fiction disguised as history
Once mandatory read in ex-YU schools, this novel is just another piece of greater-Serbian propaganda, perhaps most famous ever written. Read more
Published on 25 Nov 2011 by Josh-Stecak
5.0 out of 5 stars amazingly evocative writing
not exactly a novel, more a series of stories following the 'life' of a Bosnian bridge over 350 years. Read more
Published on 21 April 2011 by sally tarbox
5.0 out of 5 stars A deserved Nobel prize winner
Without having read this book, no persons literary education is truly complete.

A series of observations of the people in a Bosnian town over a 700 year period, it... Read more
Published on 24 Mar 2011 by James Nunn
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of storytelling in every sense of the word
For anyone interested in the Balkans with its rich but tumultuous history this book should be the starting point. Read more
Published on 1 July 2010 by MT
4.0 out of 5 stars Cultural bridge
The bridge is a brilliant device for a novel about conflicting and cohabiting cultures. What stood out were the scenes of cruelty matched with highly organized destruction. Read more
Published on 14 Jan 2009 by Michael Martin
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