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Bridge Over The Drina Paperback – 5 Apr 1994


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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: 13.5 x 2.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Shaun Bradbury on 15 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
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 By A Customer on 5 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
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 By A Customer on 6 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
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 By Nemo James - Singer Songwriter on 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 By hungry sponge on 29 Oct. 2006
Format: Paperback
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MT on 1 July 2010
Format: Paperback
For anyone interested in the Balkans with its rich but tumultuous history this book should be the starting point. Written by one of the most celebrated authors of Serbian/Serbo-Croatian literature, member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences, and one of the most prominent intellectuals and diplomats of former Yugoslavia, it chronicles the lives of ordinary people in the town of Visegrad. Visegrad, in present-day Bosnia, is a town on the river Drina, a place where East meets West, where cultures clash, where two dominant political forces--the Ottoman and the Austro-Hungarian Empire--collide and take turns in governing the region with its intricate ethnic and religious divisions. This novel is a work of fiction and not a history textbook but it is remarkably historically accurate, which should not come as a surprise as Mr Andric was an expert on the history of the region and drew on it in his never-ending quest for the essence of human existence.

The bridge is the focal point of the novel, which can be seen as a collection of inter-connected stories depicting lives of people in a place and time whose fragility is contrasted with the awe-inspiring permanence of the bridge. The bridge is the only constant throughout the changes that occur, the place where locals get together to chat, where lovers meet under the cover of the night, where shady deals are made and promises are broken, and where armies march bringing ever more change and misery.

Some of the scenes of cruelty and torture, common at the time, are difficult to stomach. Some stories are simply heart-breaking. But the novel, winner of the Nobel Prize, has been one of the most rewarding reads of my life.
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