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When Carl awakens from a coma after being attacked on a subway train, life around him feels unfamiliar, even strange. He arrives at his best friend's house without remembering how he got there; he seems to be having an affair with his secretary, which is pleasant but surprising. He starts to notice distortions in his experience, strange leaps in his perception of time. Is he truly reacting with the outside world, he wonders, or might he be terribly mistaken? So begins a dark psychological drama that raises questions about the the human psyche, dream versus reality, and the boundaries of consciousness. As Carl grapples with his predicament, Alex Garland - author of The Beach and the screenplay for 28 Days Later, plays with conventions and questions our assumptions about the way we exist in the world, even as it draws us into the unsettling and haunting book about a lost suitcase and a forgotten identity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781573222730
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date: 06/17/2004
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.48(w) x 8.34(h) x 0.87(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Alex Garland is the author of the bestselling generational classic The Beach and of The Tesseract, a national bestseller and New York Times Notable Book. He also wrote the original screenplay of the critically acclaimed film 28 Days Later. He lives in London.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Evocative… unsettling.” –The San Francisco Chronicle

“A strange, compelling ride into that realm where nothing is what it seems—and where night never really wakes up.” –The Times (London)

“Mind-bending… If you’re the kind of reader who likes perusing ten pages of a book before bed, be warned. Once you start this novel is it impossible to stop reading.” –The Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Might just be the most perfectly paces novel since Ian McEwan’s Amsterdam.” –The St. Petersburg Times

“Unputdownable… A dark and sometimes terrifying story that derives its somber beauty from the directness and precision of Garland’s writing.” –Salon.com

“Spare in its scope and piercing in its focus on subconscious metaphysics. Garland constructs a literal mind game. The Coma repeatedly pulls the rug out from under the reader, yet somehow maintains a coherent image of Carl’s mental state.” –Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Urgent and unsettling… compelling and chilling.” –The Observer

Customer Reviews

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The Coma 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
lesleydawn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had high hopes for this book, but they were quickly dashed as I journeyed with the main character. I do not feel that the lines between dream state and reality were that blurred, and it was all incredibly predictable. The premise was wonderful and had so much potential, but it wasn't pulled off well.
Jacey25 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The author is known for writing The Beach- his breakout work which will still remain the book I reccomend to others interested in his work. The Coma is an interesting read and is very short and accessible. It is simply the story of a man in a coma. To say more is to render reading the book almost unneccessary. I bought into what Alex Garland was trying to do in the book but felt as though the exercise ultimately didn't have much of a point and actually became quite tiresome about 3/4s of the way through the book. I remained for his fluid and evocative style of writing and the amazing woodprints done by his father that are liberally sprinkled through the book. If you're interested in the book I would borrow it from the library before buying it to see if it's something you wish to have forever. In my opinion; I wanted to read the book being a fan of Alex Garland's style and writing interests but wouldn't want to commit permanent shelf space to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So short... and pointless?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Also check out The Tesseract
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first book of his to read and I really enjoyed it. The pictures are quite odd, but really help make the story I couldn't put down till I was done. The naritive is switches speeds a bit and becomessterile to complimemt the story. Have given copies of it to some of my friends.
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FocoProject More than 1 year ago
There is two ways one can look at this book, in perspective with the works of its author and in perspective with everything else. One example I may give is watching ¿The Village¿ and saying it is not Shyamalan¿s best work¿in fact probably his worst, but then, compared to most of the Hollywood crap out there, the movie is still pretty good.

While not to that extreme, the same serves for this book. Having read ¿The Beach¿ and ¿The Tesseract¿, ¿The Coma¿ seems very watered down, lacking the complexities that one is used to seeing from his characters and yet¿I found it to be a very fun read and one that was troubling accurate in its portrayal or rather its disruption of reality.

Here, a man apparently named Carl, finds himself going home after being in a coma for an undetermined amount of time. Then strange things begin to happen, which leave him to wonder if he has suffered some serious psychological trauma. And as the story progresses, time and reality bend even more into a trippy story that amuses as much as it thrills.

Though much shorter than his other works and much simpler, the story was still enticing and I found myself reading it all in one sitting. Thankfully, I bought a second book at the store with it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in three hours. Absolutley could not put it down (except to cook dinner, I was STARVING). I love the writing style.. twisted, almost trippy, rushed but well thought-out. Only, I got to the end, to those last few pages, nearly breathless, excited to find out the answers to all those questions Carl kept asking himself... and...HEY!! Where did the ending go? I must have bought a defective book. Im missing the finale! Besides never really knowing what happened at the end, I still recommend this book to everyone. It was well worth the money I spent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you've read the description on the back of the book, you've read the book. Not much else is going on here but some fuzzy pictures and print large enough so you won't need your glasses.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You know when you stumble upon an author that has written an outstanding novel and you can't wait to read his next. And the next effort is so different, yet outstanding as well? You would expect his third effort to be just as compelling. Well Garland has officially lost my trust, his 'The Coma' was that disappointing. The Beach and Tesseract were such outstanding efforts, I could not wait to pick up The Coma. I did notice that it was only about 200 pages long, which made me a bit suspicious. And I saw almost immediately that the chapters were a page, a page and a half, sometimes only a paragraph long. But the writing lacked everything that his first two novels were so full of, and that was the most disappointing part. Almost couldn't finish it. I think it was either a vehicle for his brother's childish illustrations, or he was under a deadline from his publisher to finish out his contracted third book. Real real disappointing from a big fan. I will cast a wary eye on his next effort. He will need a huge rebound to gain my trust back.
Guest More than 1 year ago
really awesome book took me an hour and a half to finish it. but the last line of the last chapter makes me curious.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. Typical Garland style, youll finish it in five minutes. Better than the Tesseract, quite possibly his best yet. Highly original and very entertaining. Mad props to Garland for yet another amazing story relayed through amazing writing. please read this