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Summary

A man lies in a coma after a near-fatal accident. His body broken, his memory vanished, he finds himself in the surreal world of the bridge - a world free of the usual constraints of time and space, a world where dream and fantasy, past and future, fuse. Who is this man? Where is he? Is he more dead than alive? Or has he never been so alive before?

©1986 Iain Banks (P)2013 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"An exceptional talent... a totally absorbing read" ( The Times)
"A stunning book. Banks' powerful imagination is joined to a rare ability to be truly funny while exploring a nightmare world" ( Sunday Times)
"Banks turns inward to explore the complex, surreal microcosm of the human mind in a kaleidoscopic novel for sophisticated, literary readers of speculative fiction. Recommended." ( Library Journal)

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What listeners say about The Bridge

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting but thin on plot

Brilliantly read by Peter Kenny (as always), but I spent most of the book waiting for something to happen that didn't.
This is one of those Banks books that basically says "here's some stuff that happened to someone" and for the vast majority of that stuff, you could remove massive chunks out of the book and it would make no difference at all to the overall narrative.
Granted, some of that stuff is interesting, entertaining and without fail well written, but you wouldn't miss anything if it wasn't there.

I have a confused opinion about these stories. The way Banks gets me inside the head of his characters is masterful and the book generated plenty of connection and emotion. But I can't help thinking "I wish there was more to this story"

4 people found this helpful

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One of the best books ever written

I first read the bridge back in the early 90s and it gets better with every reading or listening in this case. Peter Kenny does his usual bang up job especially his take on the barbarian

1 person found this helpful

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A real disappointment

If I hadn't previously enjoyed a couple of the author's books I seriously doubt that I'd have stuck with this one. It just felt confusing from the off and more like a collection of anecdotes than a story.

Absolutely I get that the confusion is all in context. For me though it made for a dull read as it never felt like one story you it was difficult to invest emotionally. Even three quarters of the way through it was hard work not to return the book but I was so far in then that I kept praying that it would improve but to me it never did.

Other than padding it out with further detail I'm not sure I can claim to have got any more info from reading this book in its entirety than from just reading the blurb and that can't be good.

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A Magical Book by a Master

Iain Banks was my favourite author for many years (halted only by his rather selfish demise) and this was one of the first of his books that I read. This contains all of Banks key elements. It’s funny, heart warming, philosophical and despite being one of his mainstream novels it’s quite fantastical.

The audio book is beautifully performed and brings more humour to many of the lines than I read at the time. It’s a bit more Scottish than comes across from the written version but that’s not a bad thing. I found it hard to break off from the narrative and this book reminded me of what a terrible loss Banks was at far too young a year.

It’s possible you won’t enjoy this,
but if so it might be that books aren’t for you.

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wonderful

This was totally absorbing from start to finish. I could listen to Ian Banks beautiful prose "til the cows come home". In some of his books, particularly some of the sci-fi ones, I love his writing, even though I don't always get what he's on about. In this case, even though the protagonist's mental wanderings are often entertainingly preposterous, it is easy to decode the apparent nonsense. This is one of those rare books one wishes not to have read yet so that the pleasure is all to come....and for once there is hardly any of the cruelty often marring the enjoyment of the novels.
The narration is superb and the actual story is sublime..
If I could I would award more stars.

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Fantastic from start to finish

Loved it, one of his greatest ever works, and that's saying a lot. Do yourself a favour and get this audiobook.

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Sublime

Been a reader of Banks for a while (mostly his M Banks incarnation) now catching up on his non sci-fi works. This is a wonder, great characters and beautiful imagery throughout.
Special recognition for Peter Kenny on this, great performance bringing the characters to life in audio.
Brilliant all round

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  • Ed
  • 26-10-18

Great narration

Aside from being a great story (I'm sure many reviews like that below) Peter Kenny might be the best narrator for audio books I've come across. His ability to flick between accents so comfortably is very impressive and all his performances feel raw. He's a great fit with Bank's material.

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Possibly the definitive Iain (non-M) Banks novel

Fantastic and weird and perfectly Scottish. The story reminds me of when I was recovering from a brain injury. A superb work from Banks, and an excellent performance by Peter Kenny.

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very well written and narrated.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Very well written and narrated, the twists and turns, and hidden layers, relieved i have read a few more books by Iain, and this one did not disappoint

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Bridge?

the tumble of stories plots slowly relieved, seeming meaningless details come into focus to give an explanation of what at first glance, was chaos.

What does Peter Kenny bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

very good, really enhanced the storyline

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

i would have done, a little slow to start,, but soon difficult to put down

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  • Moore Creative
  • 25-07-18

Sci-fi fans might skip, but it’s fantastic and well crafted

I’m a huge fan of The Sci-fi works of Ian Banks. Too, though, I’m a huge fan of the audio work of Peter Kenny. I’d listen to him read a grocery list and would likely be thrilled with his phasing, tone and reading quality I’ve enjoyed in every performance.

So, did I listen to this book just to spend time with one of my favorite voice artists? Yes, possibly...

Did I enjoy the book and storyline? Yes, absolutely.

One thing that I did to add to the visuals I generated in my head was to imagine a slightly fantastic steam punk world... think Wings if Honneamise in how things were slightly odd and different... that applied well to the visuals in the Bridge scenes and kept me busy envisioning all of the elements Mr Banks created.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Nicholas G. Gully
  • 26-09-17

that banks fellow is a sure mad wicked writer!

Another fantastic story by an author who loves to throw the reader off kilter with materfully constructed verses and story lines.

3 people found this helpful