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úterý 27. března 2012

Iain Banks: The Bridge (Most)

I haven’t written a review for more than a month but I have read quite many books in that time. I decided not to write reviews on all of them because a) some of them were pretty boring (Little Women) and b) some of them have LOADS of reviews on the internet (Chronicles of a Death Foretold). Anyway, if you happen to be deeply interested in what I read, you can follow me on GoodReads.
It’s been few weeks since I’ve read this book so I’ll do my best to come up with something at least remotely intelligent. It is a story of John Orr who lives on the Bridge where he had been found in water with no ID or anything and with no memory of what had happened to him or who he is. He has sessions with a psychologist who is to help him to get his memory back but mostly wants John to tell him about his dreams. But John mostly dislikes his methods and sometimes often just makes up something to satisfy the doctor. What he really wants to find is one of libraries that seems to have disappeared. He also wonders what is beyond the Bridge because the only thing he knows about it is that there is the Kingdom on one side and the City on the other.
The narrative shifts to the Barbarian. He has nothing to do with the Bridge, just more or less wander around and kills things. One of his stories actually sounds like a D’n’D adventure but maybe it wasn’t the purpose. He is not extremely smart and rather brutal. And speaks in an awful Scottish accent. He also has a familiar (some kind of a bird) who is pretty much his opposite – small, weak but super-smart.
The last protagonist is Alex whose story takes place in our world and concerns his studies and later life but mostly his love to Andrea. They have kind of weird long-term relationship where he tolerates her lover in France. He is not much of a hero, really rather a boring, mediocre guy and his parts of the story are what people reproach to this book the most… and they’re right, his parts are the most boring. But the whole thing would make no sense without them. He also likes bridges. And feels bad because he left his working-class roots.
It probably comes as no surprise (and if you do not think you know how this sentence ends and you think you want to read this book, you should skip this paragraph right now because I am about to put here some spoilers) that Alex, John and the Barbarian (and Barbarian’s familiar) are one person. Alex gets drunk one evening and crashes his car while admiring…wait for it…a bridge. Anyway, the whole thing is not a huge mystery because the author spills the beans in the very beginning and if you don’t forget that there was the weird first chapter before John’s story starts, you will probably know what is going on in few pages.
I loved the book in the beginning that is mostly about John because its overall weirdness is really catchy. The book slows down later when it concentrates more on Alex but if you stay focused and look for connections between different parts of the book, you’ll find out many things that should reveal a lot about characters.
I read that it is an unconventional love story or just as general (or psychological) fiction but I decided to categorize it as Crime/Mystery because I think that is how it mostly reads (and there is no Psychological Fiction category on Eclectic Reader Challenge). But it is many things including horror, thriller, fantasy and parody.

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