Over The Bridge and Far Away

Review: The Bridge by Iain Banks (1986)

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this.

I was going to re-read The Crow Road, my favourite Iain Banks, in the wake (wake, geddit? Aw, c’mon, give a guy a break, I’ve been reading Iain sodding Banks in every spare minute of my time for a week) of his death. Then I read that last Guardian interview, in which he said Canal Dreams was his least favourite of his own books, and The Bridge his favourite. ‘The one that went to university and got a degree’, he called it. Well, I hated Canal Dreams, so I supposed I ought to trust his judgement.

I was going to buy a copy when I discovered I already owned it. A huge paperclip, dull and rather pitted with age, sat at page 51 of my 1989 paperback edition, suggesting I never got any further. I could remember nothing of it, perhaps ironically given the subject matter of memory loss, aside from the initial description of the car crash, which 1989 me had found impenetrable.

2013 me, full and rather pitted with age, really rather loved this book. Perhaps I’m coloured by the author’s death, perhaps by the fact that I think Life On Mars / Ashes to Ashes nicked half their ideas from it. I shouldn’t like the bits tinged with fantasy and SF, but I enjoyed even those. The book that went to university, and if it didn’t quite get a First, it got a damn good 2.1 and had a lot of fun while it was there.

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