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Publisher's 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)

What listeners say about The Bridge

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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.

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Stuart
  • 09-04-15

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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  • Starlight Chaos
  • 10-28-21

So good that I actually reviewed it... :D

Never reviewed anything before, but this was amazing and I just had to.

Iain banks is by far my favourite auther, and on top of that, this is one of his best books. I wouldn't be so arrogant to say iain banks is the best auther ever just because he's my favourite, but I do struggle to find anyone who compares... He may well be the best, if not one of them.

Everything about his books are are incredible. The way he rights is remarkably captivating, and its so hard to put his books down once you've picked them up. He's incredibly imaginative and intelligent. He writes so well and builds the world around you beautifully. The characters are always interesting and there's always twists and turns that are great and never seem forced or generic. He's truly an original, and genius auther.

This book is amazing, even by banks' standards. It has so many interesting characters and situations, and the book unfolds around them in a way that connects everything perfectly.

Somthing I love about iain banks, is that he's so smart and always finds a way to make his books re-readable and still feel new. There are so many connections, and seeds that grow into revelations and twists later on, so you are bound to miss things the first time, which makes reading the book all the more fun. Much like how the film fight club has a hung mind trip at the end and watching it a second time is a different experience, knowing about the ending.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ben Moss-Woodward
  • 03-22-15

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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  • Katy C.
  • 07-11-21

Brilliant

The best Audio book that I have heard. Peter Kennys performance is extraordinary and has really brought a book that I had previously found hard work, to life in an engaging and exciting way.

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  • Dan
  • 06-19-21

really good

Great book wonderfully narrated. Fantastic performance by Peter Kenny. Interesting concept for the book, definitely had a good whiff of the culture about it.

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  • I. Mitchell
  • 05-29-21

Very different

Messes with your head a bit this one but comes good in the end. Much better Banks books out there.

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  • Rocket
  • 02-15-21

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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  • Gareth Sharp
  • 12-07-20

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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  • rosie123
  • 07-18-20

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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  • Mr. G. Tierney
  • 06-04-19

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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  • Uncle Monty's Cat
  • 06-06-22

Always was a favourite

I’ve loved this book from the first of the many times I’ve read it, and this recording does full justice to Iain Banks’s work. Having a gifted narrator read it for me was a real treat and I’m already lining up some of my other favourites of Iain’s writing in my Wishlist. I can’t recommend it too highly: if you’re new to Iain Banks, this is a great place to start. Apparently it was the book of which he was most proud and I’ve always considered it to be his finest.