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The Bridge von Iain Banks
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The Bridge (Original 1986; 1992. Auflage)

von Iain Banks

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2,023256,214 (3.7)54
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.… (mehr)
Mitglied:patterner
Titel:The Bridge
Autoren:Iain Banks
Info:Abacus (1992), Edition: New Ed, Paperback
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Werk-Informationen

Die Brücke. von Iain Banks (1986)

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Still my favourite of any Banks, with or without the M. If you read one Banks, make it this one - and get a cross-section across his oeuvre.

Worth reading for that one pun alone, the Wee Lassie... ( )
  Andy_Dingley | Mar 4, 2021 |
I liked it for all the wrong reasons, like the barbarian and familiar segments. The trapped in coma struggling with yourself is a bit cliche but I like how obvious from the start it so we can just move past it and enjoy the show. ( )
  Paul_S | Dec 23, 2020 |
Two novels for the price of one in this early book by Iain Banks published in 1986. It preceded the first of his science fiction novels which was published the following year. After the Bridge, Banks' literary career diverged into writing science fiction novels and mainstream fiction novels, but today The Bridge reads like a combination of the two. If you enjoy reading about the Scottish socialist, rock music loving heroes struggling to come to terms with the vicissitudes of life in some of Banks' mainstream fiction and also enjoy his flights of fantasy in his alter ego as Iain M Banks the science fiction writer then this might be just the novel for you.

The novel starts with a short chapter entitled Coma where we are told of a near fatal car crash from a first person point of view. The next chapter plunges the reader into the mysterious world of the bridge where the unnamed hero who is suffering from amnesia is in consultation with a psychoanalyst (Dr Joyce) who is intent on exploring his dreams. The first time reader may be intrigued by the significance of this as the world that our hero (referred to as John Orr) inhabits is a sort of bridge to nowhere. John Orr becomes increasingly suspicious of the treatment he is receiving and seems to want to explore further the curious world that he inhabits. It is a world that has a resemblance to the Forth bridge in Scotland but takes the form of a city on a bridge. It is a Kafka-esque world where actions are taken for seemingly bureaucratic reasons which are accepted without question by the inhabitants. Orr challenges the treatment he is receiving and finds his privileges in the city summarily removed and decides to escape.

Much later in the novel we are told the story of Alex growing up in Scotland, falling in love with Andrea and becoming a successful businessman. This is typical of Bank's mainstream writing at this period of his career. Andrea and Alex grow together, but with Andrea wanting to keep her independence, there is more in her life than Alex and she moves to Paris for a four year period in pursuit of her own career and ambitions. Bank's skilfully builds in links between Alex and John Orrs story and indulges in a third story of a Barbarian who seems to be a participant in a video game. This story is told with a thick Glaswegian accent which takes a little deciphering. The three strands of the story progress towards a final denouement leaving the reader to wonder how they are connected in good mystery writing fashion.

The world building of the city on the bridge which is the dominant story in the first two thirds of the novel is handled with panache and Banks creates the atmosphere and feel of a credible alternative world, which has sufficient reference points to make it seem credible. A world of engineers and metalwork and of course trains that should appeal to railway enthusiasts. This contrasts nicely with Alex and Andreas story which has all the realism of growing up in the authors known environment of 1980's Scotland. I found the video game story with its exploration of classical myths the least convincing element to the book, and certainly the most difficult to read, but it works on a certain level even if the novel would not have been any the lesser without it. In my opinion John Orrs escape from the Bridge was the least convincing element to the book.

An element of Bank's mainstream novel writing that appeals to me is his use of contemporary cultural references; particularly to music. His characters emphasise their moods and feelings by their choice of music and if the reader has a similar amount of knowledge of popular music; of artists and their songs as does Banks then you can be even more tune with his writing. I am not aware of a writer that uses these seemingly casual references as well as Banks did, it works for me as I can hear the music in the background as I am reading the words on the page.

I have not read all of Banks; novels, but I have read many of his science fiction books and some of his mainstream fiction. I particularly enjoy his left wing, music loving heroes, out of step with Thatcher's 1980's Britain and I enjoy the hedonistic atmosphere of his science fiction culture novels. This is not quite a combination of the two, but it does have elements of both. It bursts with ideas and references that may be a bit over ambitious at times, but on the whole it works and is an absorbing read. I rate it as 4 stars. ( )
3 abstimmen baswood | Mar 5, 2020 |
I worked hard getting through this book, persevering because it had been so highly rated by both people here and (when first published) the critics. Yes, the writing is good. Yes, many of the dream scenes are interesting. But taken as a whole I found it too long and in many places too repetitive. Perhaps of greater interest to (a) Scots and (b) people who, like the protagonist, are hooked on bridges. He is, after all, a structural engineer! ( )
  NaggedMan | Jan 24, 2020 |
I was watching Grey's Anatomy, Season 13, Episode 4. At 35 minutes in, Owen Hunt was lying in bed and reading a book. I have paused this scene and kept going backwards and forwards - trying to figure out what book he was reading.

And now - half an hour later - here I am, knowing the book and adding it to my TBR pile. I may never get to it, but the satisfaction of actually finding this book is too big!

It makes me realise - we spend so much time choosing books in today's fast world. And sometimes, when a book finds us, it is a miraculous moment, and I want to cherish this moment forever!
1 abstimmen InnahLovesYou | Jan 3, 2020 |
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AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Iain BanksHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Brown, PeterUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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Trapped. Crushed. Weight coming from all directions, entangled in the wreckage (you have to become one with the machine).
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You don't belong to her and she doesn't belong to you, but you're both part of each other; if she got up and left now and walked away and you never saw each other again for the rest of your lives, and you lived an ordinary waking life for another fifty years, even so on your deathbed you would know she was part of you.
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Wikipedia auf Englisch (1)

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.

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