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The Bridge Paperback – 6 Jun 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; Reprint edition (6 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349139210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349139210
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 156,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

It's compulsive reading and highly recommended. Sunday TODAY"

It's compulsive reading and highly recommended. Sunday TODAY"

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

Book Description

Iain Banks's classic novel reissued with a striking new cover

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You never know what you are going to get but the quality of Iain's writing and his unique ability to paint parallel existences even when you don't know where he's taking you sustains interest and pace from the outset. I discovered that I had not read this book when I decided to reread his books this year - a real treat for me to find a 'new' Banks book after his death.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Awful boring book.
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Format: Paperback
This is the first of his books I have read. At the start I was a bit annoyed. Making up dreams seemed a bit cheap. But then the suspension of disbelief got in there and the the narrative and the description of this place took over.
A brilliant "other place" that completely takes you over. The vision of the place is completely visual - you can see it on the page.
The chapters with the dialect I found hard going and for preference I would have prefered a text that kept the pace going.

A brilliant read and I am shopping for more.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read quite a lot of Iain (with and without the M) Banks' novels. I liked this one the most.

The style is challenging at times, but that was part of the appeal for me. It draws heavily on both Aladsair Gray's Lanark (which I also greatly enjoyed) and on Kafka, in substance as well as style, and plays lots of games of literary allusion with both these and other authors.

One of the appealing things about early Banks is that he made an effort to make each of the novels distinctive (differing in style as well as plot and character), so I'm not sure how useful it is to make comparisons. But the closest comparison is Walking on Glass. He plays some of the same sort of games in The Bridge, but more successfully and with a more engaging human story behind the cleverness.
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Format: Paperback
After suffering a horrific car accident, the novel's nameless, Scottish protagonist finds himself on the `Bridge', an industrial super-complex his mind has conceived for him to inhabit whilst he is unconscious. The man's identity is now split three-fold, as is the narrative structure of the book. Flashbacks to his pre-coma life represent his Freudian `ego', his surface personality that exists in the "real-world". His dreaming self living on the `Bridge' is his `super-ego' and a third barbarian like character that only desires sex and food is the `id'. Only when these three personifications of the psyche reunite will the book's hero be whole again. In essence this book presents a very traditional tale of self-discovery which has been stripped down to its most bare psychological form.

Everything in this novel, in reflection of Freud's tripartite mental structure, comes in threes; there are three narrators, three versions of the same man, and three sections to the book. Like Freud's psyche though, each of these `threes' combine to form a larger, more complete whole. The story and imagery are immensely surreal, from technological mega-structures to images of men walking forever in search of siren-like representations of female sexuality.

Yet beneath all of these layers of metaphor and psychology Banks also attempts to give a picture of modern-day Scotland and its politics. This is where, in my opinion, Banks attempts too much; his great artistry and surreal narrative is often at odds with the novel's ostensible state-of-the-nation agenda. However, the strength of the book's characterisation and its highly original setting more than make up for this minor flaw. Ultimately I found this to be a well-written and innovative work that lifts the classic coming-of-age yarn into a post-modern literary framework. A mind-bending yet moving novel.
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Format: Paperback
Everything I love about Iain Banks' writing is in this book. I've read it at least four times.

It’s dazzlingly clever and well-written, but has a heart of the yellow metallic stuff. It’s an unconventional love story set in 1980s Scotland, with a kind of a steampunk-y fantasy-SF overlay, or underlay, with multiple storylines and crosscutting allusions and puzzles which the reader can choose to explore, or allow to just wash over them, as they see fit. You can read it on a number of levels, and it can be as difficult or as fun or as moving as you want or allow it to be. That’s probably why I’ve read it so many times, and will read it again many times more.

The fantastical elements both fade— while also becoming more extreme (I know, I know, you just have to read it)— as the story progresses. The focus shifts to the “real” life of the protagonist, Alex, a Scottish engineer, and the love of his life, Andrea. For a book so outwardly and genre-blurringly unconventional, The Bridge is, at its core, strikingly and life-affirmingly warm and human.

I could go on, but I won't. In summary: I still really, really, really like this book. It's clearly Iain Banks's best. The fact that he always thought so too makes me even more sad that he has gone, and that there’s no chance we’ll get another like it. Sure, it's probably an individual thing: in much of his work, and in The Bridge more than anywhere else, Iain Banks seems to write with a narrative voice that eerily matches my own internal voice. Though lacking his imagination, I doubt I've got a career as a best selling writer ahead of me. At least I know I can keep on re-reading this novel, and get something different from it each time.

"If my life was a film, he thought, I’d roll the credits now..."
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