The man who wakes up in the world of a bridge has amnesia, and his doctor doesn't seem to want to cure him. Does it matter? Exploring the bridge occupies most of his days. But at night there are his dreams. Dreams in which desperate men drive sealed carriages across barren mountains to a bizarre rendezvous.
From Scottish writer Banks (Consider Phlebas, 1988; Walking on Glass, 1986), the surreal, often baffling - but always intriguing - story of a man who awakens from a coma into a weird and wonderful world. A man has been in what appears to be a bad car accident on a bridge; he is trapped and may be dying. He regains consciousness - or does he? - to find himself in a hospital as a complete amnesiac. The doctors have named him John Orr. Exploring his new world, Orr discovers that he is living in what seems to be a gigantic Bridge. His psychiatrist is a quack named Dr. Joyce - who medicates him but doesn't help with his amnesia. Gradually, Orr becomes a "favored" patient of Joyce's, even getting a large apartment at the top of the Bridge; but he soon falls into disfavor and ends up drifting down through the many social strata that make up the Bridge, and finally "awakens" in yet another hospital bed - but into what world and what reality? Banks makes it deliberately hard to tell dream from reality, but once one stops looking for linear plot developments, this can be read as an entertaining (and rather funny) exercise in examining the subconscious. (Kirkus Reviews)