The Coma by Alex Garland

The Coma

After being attacked on the Underground, Carl awakens from a coma to a life that seems strange and unfamiliar. He arrives at his friends' house without knowing how he got there. Nor do they. He seems to be having an affair with his secretary which is exciting, but unlikely. Further unsettled by leaps in logic and time, Carl wonders if he's actually reacting to the outside world, or if he's terribly mistaken. So begins a psychological adventure th...


Details The Coma

TitleThe Coma
ISBN9780571223107
Author
Release DateJul 7th, 2005
PublisherFaber & Faber
LanguageEnglish
GenreFiction, Mystery, Horror, Contemporary, Thriller
Rating

Reviews The Coma

  • Kevin Kelsey
    2015-11-04
    An odd little eerie novella. I really enjoyed it. His descriptions of the dream-state are some of the most accurate I've ever read.
  • Sam Quixote
    2012-12-29
    I remember reading The Coma when it first came out some 10 years-ish ago, flying through it in a day and dismissing it as “eh, dream story, got it”. I’m glad I came back and re-read it and thought about it more afterwards as there’s a lot more to it than that (and understanding what I read, rather than chalking it up as another book down, is the whole point of why I write reviews anyway). Carl is in the office making notes on papers late ...
  • Fabian
    2010-03-12
    As modern writers go, this one has the career I covet and an incredible repertoire--he has been compared to Graham Greene. Well, this is the WRITER OF MY GENERATION (or Gen x, whatev), and therefore, it's Mr. Greene who should consider himself fortunate. (Forgive the hyperbole...)For a book that requires no bookmark, this one is a must. Like a riveting film, one of the best ones out there that you probably never got to see in the theater and swee...
  • karen
    2008-06-15
    this book was the perfect length for one queens-manhattan/manhattan-queens subway ride on a sunday shopping spree. sibilant, no?im more taken with that fact than the actual content of the book. i enjoyed it, but marabou stork nightmares is way, way better.
  • Maciek
    2015-11-03
    Alex Garland is the author of The Beach, a real tour de force set on a remote island in Thailand. The Beach is an awesome debut novel, and one which I read in two sittings in two days - I could barely tear myself away from it, from beginning to end. Garland's second novel, The Tesseract, was very different - much more conceptual and experimental, and unfortunately nowhere near as successful (though the blurb states that J.G. Ballard was a big fan...
  • Nate D
    2016-02-01
    I should really have read this when it came out 12 years back and I was into Garland's The Beach and The Tesseract, as this is much better than either of those. Quick enough to read entirely in a book shop over lunch break (drawn in by the eerie woodcuts that illustrate it), but the spare elegance conveys quite a lot of philosophic weight to mull over. A haunting suggestion of the loneliness of any single, inescapably solitary consciousness, in a...
  • Trish
    2008-03-26
    I think this is maybe what happened after someone dared Alex Garland to write a novel of exactly 200 pages featuring chrysanthemums, fresh milk, bandages, a temple, a cab driver, and a nurse. Go! It's not that it's bad, it's just that it isn't much. The narrator is in a coma, and the reader experiences all of his delusions, dreams, fractured memories, and efforts to awaken. The end.
  • ❤Emm❤
    2017-01-18
    "When we wake, we die."That's a lot of trip for such a short novel.Coma is a really ambitious story, but when it starts to unravel towards the end, it gets a bit confusing, and I will never be sure what the ending meant.Is it still a good read? Yeah, of course. For the kind of book this is, not answering some of the questions directly and leaving you to make your own conclusions, I think was a better choice.It does keep you hooked in, even if onl...
  • Melissa Chung
    2015-07-12
    First of all this book is strange. Second I loved every moment of it.This book is about a man named Carl who takes a subway home and while on the tube gets attacked and is now in a coma. The whole book is Carl in his dreamlike coma state. Figuring out where he is and what is going on. He is trying to figure out how to wake up.The book is broken up into 3 parts and each part he comes closer and farther away from consciousness. Each chapter has an ...
  • Jaksen
    2018-01-29
    So-so short novel.The story of a fellow who falls into a coma after being beaten on a bus. (Or is it the subway? Or are they the same thing? Confession: I haven't ridden a bus since I took a group of students on a field trip in 2009; never ridden public transport; never taken the subway or whatever it's called these days; and only been in a taxi twice, both in 1994. Yes, I am a hermit.)Anyhow the story's about how he's in this sort of netherworld...
  • Jacki
    2009-05-02
    I sat down and read this all in one sitting this morning.Because of the situation (narrator in a coma, struggling to get out), it was pretty well impossible to get a good grip on who the narrator is/what is life is about... but in that it's easy to lose yourself to this novel & imagine yourself in that situation. He's searching for things within his memory that will spark him, shake him free of this coma, and he struggles with his inability to re...
  • Chris Dietzel
    2017-12-31
    I'm a huge fan of the screenplays Garland has written--'Ex Machina' was excellent and 'Sunshine' is one of the most underrated sci fi films I can think of--but this was the first book of his that I've read. It was an easy read with an interesting premise. While it wasn't nearly as captivating as the movies he is associated with, it was well executed and a fast read. I would definitely read more of his stuff in the future.
  • Oceana2602
    2007-07-14
    The Coma was on the bargain table at Chapters when it caught my eye. Alex Garland, I said to myself. Isn't that the guy who wrote The Beach? Yes, he is.I read The Beach long before it was made into a movie with the unspeakable Leonardo DiCaprio (which I've never seen), and I was fascinated. I recognized the society Garland creates in The Beach in so many ways, it was scary and uncomfortable and utterly fascinating. I haven't yet have the guts to ...
  • Nathan
    2008-01-08
    Garland's first book The Beach is truly one of my favorite books. Maybe I happened to read it at the exact right moment in my own existence, but I connected to it on a deep level, and I found it to be not only thrilling, but quite moving. I managed to miss his second novel, but after the total mess that they made of the theatrical version of The Beach, I loved 28 Days Later, so I was excited the day I picked this book up, and in the first moments...
  • Chana
    2009-02-25
    This is one of those dream stories where reality is vague at best. There is a sense of dread in this book that, at least in part, comes from the very fine woodcuts made by the author's father. I was wondering which came first, the woodcuts or this novel. I suspect the woodcuts. I was waiting for illumination while I read this book and it never arrived, to my disappointment. Maybe others will understand this book, I hope so.
  • Mobyskine
    2017-11-02
    Fast-paced, could finish in one go. Love the plot-- excellent writing depicting a dreamland journey of comatose. Bizarre but interesting, weird and unusual. Playing with logic, an unknown parallel and one's subconcious mind. Think it was brilliant. How Carl realised he was in the state of coma but still 'flying' all over settling the unsettled or perhaps some needs. Love the part when he met the cabby again and went back to his old house. Short c...
  • Laura
    2015-07-05
    From BBC Radio 4:A young man is attacked on a train late one night and knocked unconscious. Tom Goodman-Hill reads Alex Garland's novel.
  • Mahdie
    2017-11-09
    You wake you die
  • Justin Hudnall
    2008-12-25
    It must be difficult for Alex Garland to see the majority of praise for this book pertain to "how fast of a read it was." This point is even emblazoned right across the back of the jacket, just in case people fail to notice how slim the book is. What I wished Garland was being praised for is his really masterful ability to write sparsely, with complete lack of jazz-fingers or indulging the impulse to elaborate a subject to death. Hell, give him c...
  • Dougal
    2010-05-17
    This book is a wonderful tale of the unconscious. It explores a world of unconscious dreaming that is beautifully gentle in the way it slowly reveals something of the character of the narrator, and something about all of us. The black and white woodcuts, by Nicholas Garland, perfectly illustrate this short story.The edition I read was the paperback, with a separate dustcover. It was a delight to hold; there was something about the binding, the te...
  • Gareth
    2013-08-20
    A thought-provoking tale on the nature of coma, dreaming and their relation to the waking state and notions of personal identity. Very nicely written in a simple, sparse style, which, along with Garland's father's beautiful and atmospheric woodcuts, creates both tension and dreamlike disjointedness.For those who finish the book with slight bewilderment or dissatisfaction, let me just give you a clue (the same that someone was kind enough to give ...
  • Jo Brace
    2014-09-12
    In my opinion, it was the perfect little tale, taking into consideration the subject matter. You read as if you are in the coma with him, battling to wake, feeling the despair. If the story were any longer, it would get tiresome to read very quickly. There is only so much comatose thinking one can take.
  • tanja
    2015-06-24
    Well, that was a strange, little book...
  • Guy Salvidge
    2017-09-15
    Oh dear, this simply isn't very good. I'm not against dream narratives. Some good ones that I can think of are Kim Stanley Robinson's A Short Sharp Shock, Iain Banks' The Bridge and Christopher Priest's The Dream Archipelago. The Coma, however, manages to be both very brief and rather verbose. A slim volume like this one ought to be packed full of memorable snippets and fragments of description and conversation. What we have instead is a meanderi...
  • Stacy
    2012-03-02
    The Coma, written by Alex Garland (the 'mastermind' behind the novel The Beach, as well as the films 28 Days Later and Sunshine) presents a straightforward story: a man finds himself trapped in a dreamworld after being put in a coma, and struggles to regain his memory in order to wake up.This "man," whose true identity even he is unsure about, is Carl. His experience begins as a series of scenes in which he seems to awake, all of a sudden somepla...
  • Ernest Junius
    2011-09-29
    The premise of the book is obviously very interesting—dark, surreal, and necromantic. Combined with the words of praise from Kazuo Ishiguro on the back cover and the fact that it was a "Guardian Books of the Year" making it all more and more an enticing read.The book simply tells a story about a person in a coma—you might be able to guess that from the title, and what's different is that this book is utilising creepy woodblock illustration fr...
  • Cathy V
    2016-03-21
    A very short story about a man, Carl, who is attacked on a train and supposedly wakes from a coma only to find the lines of reality confusingly blurred. On the surface, this novel appears as a story of merely experiencing a coma, however it becomes apparent that its deeper meaning is in exploring human consciousness. I was drawn to this book based on my enjoyment of Alex Garlands “The Beach” and was keen to explore more of his work. This book...
  • Hotchiqqa
    2007-09-08
    "The Coma is a bold step towards the creation of a new genre, perhaps even a new art form." -Kazuo Ishiguro, Observer Books of the YearThis book is really good, if you're into psychology and all. Very Chilly. =)Tells a story about a man, who got into an accident/crime. he was beaten to unconsciousness, and was placed into a state of coma. The book perfectly describes the difference of being in dream-life and wake-life.. and almost dead-life(coma)...
  • David
    2011-05-29
    Meandering and blurry, this novel attempts to give a glimpse into the dream state of its protagonist, who finds himself comatose after a brutal subway attack. The main character suffers from amnesia, but it's as if Garland himself forgot to include a more engaging storyline here, instead opting for opaque imagery and frustrating half-memories that ultimately take the reader, and the protagonist, nowhere. Too experimental for its own good, The Com...