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The bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andrić

The bridge on the Drina (original 1945; edition 1977)

by Ivo Andrić, Lovett F. Edwards (Translator), William H. McNeill (Introduction)

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Title:The bridge on the Drina
Authors:Ivo Andrić
Other authors:Lovett F. Edwards (Translator), William H. McNeill (Introduction)
Info:Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977.
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:fiction, male author, serbian, bosnia, historical fiction, university of chicago press, bookshelf43

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The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andrić (1945)

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» See also 234 mentions

English (24)  Spanish (2)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (31)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
The Bridge on the Drina: is sort of a poor man’s Michener, not as good as Peter Ackroyd’s London but close. As a history teacher I was memorized by the Bosnian War in the early 1990s so I was eager to read this book for Visegrad, where The Bridge on the Drina took place, was the scene of a massacre of 3000 Croatian Muslim citizens by Serbian Christians. Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic gave the orders for the massacres at Visegrad and Srebrenica. Today he is answering for those crimes at the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. The men in The Bridge on the Drina were the great grandparents and great great grandparents of those who committed the atrocities in Visegrad in 1992. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
This is a masterful portrayal of Balkan history which, for anyone not familiar with it or, like me, familiar but confused, is a great way to gain more understanding.

The bridge is built 500 years ago by the ruler of the Ottomans in memory of the homeland he was stolen from. Andrić chronicles the history of the town of Visegrad chapter by chapter from before the bridge until the start of WW1 with the bridge playing a central role in each chapter either as a character in its own right or as the backdrop for a fascinating series of historical individuals.

Certain chapters stand out markedly from others: the punishment inflicted on the leader of a rebellious group drafted to build the bridge; a suicide; a drunken walk; and ultimately the fate of the bridge itself.

The genius of the writing lies in the way Andrić weaves historical people and events into the narrative so that you get an overview of 500 years
of history by just focussing on what is in effect the result of a civil engineering achievement. You meet all sorts of characters from all sorts of backgrounds and, through this, are able to piece together the various factions that have created the fractured Balkan landscape we have today.

The writing’s not easy. This isn’t historical fiction as we know it today, thankfully. It’s deep, ponderous and finely crafted. Take your time with it. He didn’t win the Nobel Prize for nothing.

Even so, I found it a bit hard going at times when nothing much seemed to be happening and, as the novel nears its end and wider political events make their presence felt locally, Andrić seems to run out of central figures to portray the history with. Instead, he relies on local youth who aren’t as strongly drawn as his earlier characters. I thought this a shame, particularly when the earlier writing is so very, very strong. ( )
  arukiyomi | Jan 2, 2016 |
Ivo Andric's "The Bridge on the Drina" is a good example of the reasons why I like reading titles from the list of 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die. I never would have stumbled onto this one on my own, but I liked reading it a lot.

The novel tells the story of Balkan history by telling stories about what happens on the deck of a bridge over a frothy, green river. The bridge unites Bosnians and Serbs, Turks and Christians and also stands between them. The novel is basically a series of vignettes, jumping from story to story as times change.

The book was an interesting way to tell the story of a people that have long been involved in regional strife. I felt the beginning was a bit stronger than the ending, but the book mostly maintained my interest throughout its pages. ( )
  amerynth | Dec 23, 2015 |
One of the best stories I've ever read about a bridge. ( )
  sometimeunderwater | Aug 10, 2015 |
Excellent. A great evocation of place, the Balkans in this case. If you can imagine a bridge as lead character in a book, well, probably you can't. The parade of centuries of life over and around the bridge is the book's structure. Puts you on the bridge with its tragedies and joys. The persistence of the life of a people formed long before Yugoslavian communism, formed really by Orthodox Christianity or Islam and the two in dialogue is the theme here. Boom! at the end. ( )
  ted_newell | Jun 20, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andrić, Ivoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edwards, Lovett F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McNeill, William H.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meriggi, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sinervo, AiraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sinervo, ElviTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For the greater part of its course the river Drina flows through narrow gorges between steep mountains or through deep ravines with precipitous banks.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
In the small Bosnian town of Visegrad the stone bridge of the novel's title, built in the sixteenth century on the instruction of a grand vezir, bears witness to three centuries of conflict. Visegrad has long been a bone of contention between the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, but the bridge survives unscathed until 1914, when the collision of forces in the Balkans triggers the outbreak of World War I.

The bridge spans generations, nationalities and creeds, silent testament to the lives played out on it. Radisav, a workman, tried to hinder its construction and is impaled alive on its highest point; beautiful Fata leaps from its parapet to escape an arranged marriage; Milan, inveterate gamble, risks all in one last game on it. With humour and compassion, Andric chronicles the lives of Catholics, Moselms and Orthodox Christians unable to reconcile their disparate loyalties. [Amazon.co.uk]
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0226020452, Paperback)

The Bridge on the Drina is a vivid depiction of the suffering history has imposed upon the people of Bosnia from the late 16th century to the beginning of World War I. As we seek to make sense of the current nightmare in this region, this remarkable, timely book serves as a reliable guide to its people and history.

"No better introduction to the study of Balkan and Ottoman history exists, nor do I know of any work of fiction that more persuasively introduces the reader to a civilization other than our own. It is an intellectual and emotional adventure to encounter the Ottoman world through Andric's pages in its grandiose beginning and at its tottering finale. It is, in short, a marvelous work, a masterpiece, and very much sui generis. . . . Andric's sensitive portrait of social change in distant Bosnia has revelatory force."—William H. McNeill, from the introduction

"The dreadful events occurring in Sarajevo over the past several months turn my mind to a remarkable historical novel from the land we used to call Yugoslavia, Ivo Andric's The Bridge on the Drina."—John M. Mohan, Des Moines Sunday Register

Born in Bosnia, Ivo Andric (1892-1975) was a distinguished diplomat and novelist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961. His books include The Damned Yard: And Other Stories, and The Days of the Consuls.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:32 -0400)

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