« Home | Lapchick » | The Wisdom Of Crowds » | Parlay Your IRA Into A Family Fortune » | The Ghost of Hannah Mendes » | Tender Bar » | Atlas Shrugged » | My Library » | Blue Blood » | Ballad Of The Whiskey Robber » | The Long Tail » 



Author: Alex Garland
Year: 2004
Pages: 192
Amazon: Coma

Coma is mind-bending novella that follows the semi-conscious mental state of the story's narrator Carl. On the way home from his office, while riding on the train, Carl comes to the aid of a female stranger as she is being harassed by a group of young thugs. Carl ends up getting an ass-beating for the ages that leave him in a coma. At first, it appears as if Carl has recovered, is released from the hospital and returns home. But twilight zone like experiences and surreal events lead Carl to conclude that he still very much in a coma, albeit in an intense dream state. The stories continue from within his coma as Carl slips in between different dream worlds. He visits friends, has an affair with his secretary and revisits his traumatic mugging, but always reverts back to his vegetative state in his hospital bed.

The book's author, Alex Garland, who is refreshingly unpretentious as a write refers to the story (article) as "a short read. It was always designed to be. I suspect it would not have worked had it been much longer. Those jumps in mental landscape get frustrating after a while. You need something to grip on to.'

The fuzzy and confused perspective of his comatose state is heavily illustrated by Garland father and political cartoonist Nicholas Garland. The illustrations enhance the tone and intentional confusing nature of Carl's trippy journey.

Litty’s Take

I've been a big fan of Garland since reading The Beach and The Tesseract. This is his third novel and while it holds it's own and is a quick read it is way different from the first two stories. Both of those stories took place in exotic locations, with young, idealistic protagonist's searching for utopia. By the way, if you enjoyed the film version of The Beach at all (with Leonardo DiCaprio and a super cute French chick) it is definitely worthwhile to give the novel a go.

The Coma does allow you to ponder the vibrant dream world of the sub-conscious and makes you wonder what happens to a person in a coma. I've always figured that dreams were meant to be forgotten and that is why we all do within minutes after waking up. But how real are you dreams? Can they add to one's fulfillment and satisfaction if they aren't ignored? I also wonder if dreams are our mind's way of telling us stuff that we refuse to listen to in our conscious state.

My recurring dream: I am in high school and realize that I have a Science Final Exam that day. For some reason I haven't gone to class in months, haven't opened a text book and have absolutely no chance of passing the test. I wonder why I never dropped the class while I try to hopelessly figure out a way to scheme my way into avoiding imminent failure. Thankfully it's not the worst nightmare one could have because I must have this dream at least once a week.



Ive never read the book, but Alex adapted into a screenplay, and it is one of my favorite screenplays. I was pleasantly surprised to see him get into the book club, as he is one of my favorite writers in Hollywood. His next project comes out in March, called SUNSHINE, where he is reteamed with Director Danny Boyle from THE BEACH. The story is about a group of astronauts sent to the sun to set off a series of nuclear explosions in the hope of reigniting the dying star. Should be a cool ride with interesting concepts and ideas to chew on throughout. Hope all are as excited as I am for its release.

A to the Nand

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

Post a Comment

Links to this post

Create a Link

Subscribe By Email

Get posts sent to you
directly by email:

Meet L-Books...

    Littybooks can help you find your way along the cathartic path of leisurely reading. Benefits may include peace of mind, unimpeded circulation of your inner chi, and an overall satisfaction with your life. So pick up a book and look at the words inside.
My profile

Book Reviews