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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The trouble with the Balkans
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...
Published on 15 Dec 2005 by Shaun Bradbury

versus
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. There were some moments of excitement and interest when the action picked up pace, but to me it felt like a jog through the history of a bridge, purporting to be a novel. The bridge is the central character and, like...
Published 10 months ago by Lelly


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The trouble with the Balkans, 15 Dec 2005
By 
Shaun Bradbury (, Wirral United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bridge Over The Drina (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall a good read., 5 Jun 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Bridge Over The Drina (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
5.0 out of 5 stars A breathtaking and beautiful book., 6 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Bridge Over The Drina (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Politics as prose, 29 Oct 2006
This review is from: Bridge Over The Drina (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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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
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This review is from: Bridge Over The Drina (Paperback)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic novelistic treatise on Balkan History - is there any better?, 5 Nov 2009
This review is from: Bridge Over The Drina (Paperback)
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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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You haven't lived until you read this book, 17 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Bridge Over The Drina (Paperback)
A grand historical narrative stretching over 500 years of Balkan history, this book should be read by everyone with an interest in European history. You won't be able to put it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little known classic, 11 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Bridge Over The Drina (Paperback)
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 it would be too heavy - and it has jumped straight into my favourites list.

This is essentially an epic story set around the bridge, which remains constant as centuries pass. It looks at a number of key historical events and how they affected this one town. But it also has some great light-hearted moments and awe-inspiring philosophical quotes.

I am not a particularly well-read person, but the book I would most liken this to is Captain Corelli's Mandolin, as it is similarly a wartime epic filled with colourful descriptive text about even the most mundane things.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deserved Nobel prize winner, 24 Mar 2011
By 
James Nunn "Omniemptor" (Halifax, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bridge Over The Drina (Paperback)
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 centres around a bridge built as a bequest of a 'local boy done good' in the bureaucratic machinery of the Ottoman empire.

From start to finish it is beautifully evocative, skilfully written prose from Serbia's finest modern author. Some reviewers query the way Andric refers to Bosnian muslims: it's a minor detail, and is rooted in the fact that ALL islamic occupiers and converts to islam were referred to as Turks by the ethnic Serbs.

Ignore the politics, set aside your preconceptions about the Balkans, and revel in a beautiful tale of ordinary people and the all-consuming dramas of their lives.

Then start on Andric's 'The Damned Yard and other stories' - another volume of engrossingly beautiful storytelling!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of storytelling in every sense of the word, 1 July 2010
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This review is from: Bridge Over The Drina (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. While dealing with a specific and often troubled part of Europe, its story of loneliness, oppression, and the human desire to break free, is so universal in its wisdom and depth that it transcends borders, regions and languages. And despite the often grim events its message is ultimately one of hope, of perseverance, of triumph of good over evil.
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Bridge Over The Drina
Bridge Over The Drina by Ivo Andric (Paperback - 5 April 1994)
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