The Bridge

Iain M. Banks, Author
Iain M. Banks, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (259p) ISBN 978-0-312-02881-7
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Orr, the otherwise unnamed protagonist of this Pynchonesque novel, is a successful Scottish engineer who's a bit fed up with life: his work doesn't really interest him anymore; years of doping and boozing have dulled him; his girlfriend has other lovers (he does too, but he would rather she was monogamous). Then one evening he crashes his classic Jaguar into a parked MG. The aftermath is coma and months of amnesiac trance, a condition that Orr apparently comes to prefer. The reader, however, only understands all this towards the end of the novel. Virtually the whole of the narrative consists of Orr's trauma-induced hallucinations. The bridge of the title is a fantastically ramifying construct in Orr's brain resembling an outer-space city in a science fiction movie. Banks's ( The Player of Games ) novel is satire, and its target turns out to be the British Isles' equivalent of American ``yuppies.'' Deploying a wide range of stylistic devices, the narrative condemns fiercely an overly mechanistic society and its self-referential ethos. (May)
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