READ & DOWNLOAD ç PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB Ý Iain Banks
The BridgeA darkly brilliant novel of self discovery the cutting edge of experimental fiction It leads from nowhere to nowhere the myst. Iain Banks was a genius and The Bridge is one of his greatest works Few would disagree with the first statement but some might disagree with the lastWhy Because this novel utilizes a pretty cheesy central plot device – that the events occurring are the dreams of a man in a coma If this puts you off I understand usually any novel using the 'It was all a dream' premise sounds as appealing to me as Days of our Lives in book form but trust me this novel is worth your time If you can look past this cliched premise you will find yourself immersed in one of the best books I've read in the last decadeIf you've read any Banks you'll know that he was as comfortable with literary fiction as he was with Science Fiction writing many books in both genres during his career The Bridge falls into the litfic section of his output but contains enough weird and speculative elements to appeal to those like me whose tastes tend towards genreThe story is split three waysThe first character Alex wakes on a bridge However this is no ordinary bridge This bridge is a world a vast many levelled structure that spans a seemingly endless sea stretching off into infinity in either direction an entire civilization existing within its steel stanchions and concrete buttressesAlex lives in this strange world unsure how he came to be there exploring his new home and meeting with a psychiatrist to discuss his disturbing dreams Dreams within a dream In particular he is enduring a series of sometimes hilarious sometimes horrifying nightmares where he is making his way across a strange and magical world as The Barbarian a sword swinging Scottish brogue wielding warrior who is the second major character in the narrativeWhile Alex explores his own mind and his environs we also follow the life of a young man James Orr who is making his way in our world There are some parallels with Banks' character Adrian Cubbish in Transition although Adrian is a bit of a chancer than JamesJames finds success with all its trappings but finds his wealthy life empty Throughout his rise to success and ennui the common thread in his life is his love for a woman named Andrea Crammond whom he reluctantly has to share with her other lover a distant FrenchmanAcross these three narratives we begin to grasp what the bridge could be explore the reasons Alex is there and discover the significance of both The Barbarian and the life that John Orr has livedWhat makes The Bridge so great is the inventiveness of Bank’s narratives Each of his books is a uniue riot of imagination and The Bridge is funny poignant and awe inspiring sometimes all at once on one pageFor those of us who love The Culture novels The Bridge also gives us a hint of Banks’ famed space opera series years before Consider Phlebas was written with hints of an interstellar civilization and advanced technologies sneaking into one of the narrative threads If you’re as obsessed with The Culture as I am this glimpse of the seed that would grow into ten of the best novels in SF is tasty indeedIt’s totally heady stuff and I was shamelessly addicted pawing over pages late at night my eyes bleary with fatigue ignoring my partner my cat and any food unable to be eaten with one handFor some readers the founding premise of the novel may seem trite For me however the brilliance of the story and Bank's regular volcanic eruptions of narrative inventiveness massively overshadow the slightly clichéd premise beneath it all
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READ & DOWNLOAD The Bridge í PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB Ñ A darkly brilliant novel of self discovery the cutting edge of experimental fiction It leads from nowhere to nowhere the mysterious world spanning structure on which everyone seems to live Rescued from the sea devoid of personality or memory all John Orr knows is the BriOrr knows is the Bridge his persistent dreams of war and his desire for Chief Engineer Arrol's provocative daughter Abberlai. When I first read The Bridge in my late teens it had a huge impact on me I'd never really read anything uite like it before the blending of social realism and the science fictionfantasy world of 'The Bridge' itself Returning to it nearly twenty years later I found it an enjoyable enough read but couldn't help noticing its flaws It isn't either uite as original or as clever as I had remembered itAt the risk of a very minor spoiler I think it's reasonably apparent to anyone who reads the first page properly the book tells two stories One the story of John Orr a man who washes up with no idea who he is or how he got there at the foot of a uite surreal civilisation living on a phantasmagorically huge bridge The other the story of an un named man though I have read that you can work out that he's called Alex Lennox from the diagrams of the Bridge in the book and his surname at least is corroborated by a reference to the lead singer of the Eurythmics from a working class Glasgwegian background who arrives at Edinburgh University in the late 1960s falls in love with the upper class Andrea Cramond has a rather unconventional menage a trois relationship with her over the following eighteen years while building up a successful engineering firm all the while feeling an underlying discomfort that he is somehow betraying his working class roots The two characters are of course the same person The 'Bridge' sections play out as he lies in a hospital bed in a coma following a traffic accident Part of the fun comes from spotting how elements of the fantasy world connect back to his own life story the first time I read it I remember reaching the end and immediately beginning again and getting rather out of it second time around The horseman he meets at the beginning of the novel is clearly meant to stand in for Andrea's other lover Abberlaine Arrol the woman he seduces on The Bridge is an imperfect facsimile of Andrea and in the seuences later in the book where he leaves the Bridge and goes out and finds himself in a war torn wasteland beyond there appears to be a kind of metaphor for the way that his adult life began to go off the rails I don't know if I'm unusual in having a number of long running narrative fictions floating about in my head some of which I have been toying with since I was twelve years old worlds I can easily enough float into when on a long train journey or even just walking home from work but reading this I couldn't help thinking that it was in part about how what we imagine reflects back on our own life stories John Orr's world can't help but be constructed from the fragments of Alex Lennox's life Even when he's imagining living on the vast science fiction world of the Bridge that world still ends up echoing the real world from which he has been cut off So why wasn't I uite so impressed with it second time around Well perhaps in part it's just that I've since realised it's not nearly as original as I thought at the time Having since read Haruki Murakami for example I realise that there are others who can meld the real and the fantastical and in some ways do so to interesting effect And I don't know uite how I ploughed through the awful though thankfully short phonetic Scots sections about a barbarian 'swordsman' and his familiar which didn't feel like they belonged in the same book While the book does a very good job of portraying its central character I couldn't help thinking that just about everyone else seemed very sketchily drawn I never really understood what it was that drew him to Andrea for example because I never really got much of a sense of who Andrea actually was And there were times when some of 'The Bridge' seuences felt like reading accounts of other peoples' dreams But I don't want to sound too negative If the book doesn't mean uite so much to me at 36 as it did at 18 perhaps the story of a man arriving in Edinburgh at 18 was always going to appeal to me then than now There's much to recommend in it there's a lyricism to his description of Lennox's early years and there are many great one liners – I particularly liked Lennox's drunken rant about the 1984 US Presidential election which he ends by saying “Why don't I get a vote” to which his friend replies “No annihilation without representation eh” There are Easter eggs for want of a better term for those who go looking for them too Abberlaine Arrol's surname is a reference to the man who designed the Forth Rail Bridge and the fact that the main character's name is Alex may just be an intertextual joke as that was the name of Duncan Thaw's son in Lanark – a book which Iain Banks admitted was a strong influence There are almost certainly many that passed me by – I suspect the fraudulent Bridge psychiatrist Joyce might be a reference to James but its relevance as someone who's never so much as attempted Ulysses passed me by Worth revisiting even if you can't stand in the same river twiceI'm not changing the 5 star rating That's what I thought at the time And I'd still give it four
Iain Banks Ý 6 READ & DOWNLOAD
Erious world spanning structure on which everyone seems to live Rescued from the sea devoid of personality or memory all John. What the hell this is so boring and aimless and just not very well crafted either I have to return to Murakami's rule from 184 if the reader hasn't seen something before you should take extra time to describe itAnd I knew it I knew if I even caught a sniff of criticism of this book they would call it 'Kafka esue' everyone's favourite shorthand for weird and depressing People praise Murakami for his true understanding of Kafka and I have to praise him too because I don't get Kafka but I have a strong inkling for what someone is going to call Kafka esue which often only tells me that the critic is reminded of Kafka and not necessarily that the writing has any ualities of Kafka Incidentally this also feels like the depths of Banks' understanding of Kafka KafkaOkay so this is a book about psychology and an in depth exploration of our relationships but first and foremost it may come as a surprise that it's actually about a fucking bridge And if you go 'I got in the lift I went to the building' where is the lift The building in relation to the bridge Alongside it Does it occlude the passage along the bridge Then your character goes beneath the bridge and starts cutting about I didn't even know what the top of the bridge looked like Now you're underneath it What's there I am given next to no tools to visualise this bridge the buildings etcIf you're going to build a weird world well build it If you have a message about relationships don't expect to wow me with psychoanalysis and literary uality before you have a plot characters and oh god a settingGo home literature you're drunkI forgot Beckett too Was it weird and depressing Yeah Didyageddit No BeckettScottish 'walking about'