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The Bridge on the Drina

(Bosnian Trilogy #1)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  14,522 ratings  ·  1,064 reviews
A vivid depiction of the suffering history has imposed upon the people of Bosnia from the late sixteenth century to the beginning of World War I, The Bridge on the Drina earned Ivo Andric the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961.

A great stone bridge built three centuries ago in the heart of the Balkans by a Grand Vezir of the Ottoman Empire dominates the setting of Andric's
Paperback, 314 pages
Published 1977 by University of Chicago Press (first published 1945)
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Michael B It is entirely set in what is now the Republika Srpska (Serb Republic) region of Bosnia, centred specifically on the titular bridge in Visegrad, and n…moreIt is entirely set in what is now the Republika Srpska (Serb Republic) region of Bosnia, centred specifically on the titular bridge in Visegrad, and never really ventures more than a few miles from it. Andric himself was a Croat, although I imagine he would have considered himself simply a Yugoslav.

However much of the book focuses on the perspective of Serbs living in Visegrad over the years, and was originally written in Serbian dialect.

I personally thought the Bosniak characters such as Alihodja were (for the most part) treated as empathetically and humanely as the rest, and wouldn't call the book racist or prejudiced, but it does definitely give a "Serbian perspective" of the history of Visegrad.(less)

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Vit Babenco
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
History builds its monuments on the human blood… History is a cruel mistress…
The common people remember and tell of what they are able to grasp and what they are able to transform into legend. Anything else passes them by without deeper trace, with the dumb indifference of nameless natural phenomena, which do not touch the imagination or remain in the memory. This hard and long building process was for them a foreign task undertaken at another's expense. Only when, as the fruit of this effort, t
Ahmad Sharabiani
Na Drini ćuprija = The Bridge on the Drina (Bosnian Trilogy #1), Ivo Andrić

The story spans about four centuries and covers the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian occupations of the region, with a particular emphasis on the lives, destinies and relations of the local inhabitants, especially Serbs and Bosnian Muslims.

A great stone bridge built three centuries ago in the heart of the Balkans by a Grand Vezir of the Ottoman Empire dominates the setting of Andric's stunning novel.

Spanning generations, nat
Finished. About a bridge, a beautiful bridge. Through this bridge one finds hope. But the book is also about the passage of time and the folly of man and the peoples and cultures of the Balkans. One percieves the smallness of man. There are no clear answers. Is it foolish to hope for a better future, and what is better? How does one judge progress? If there is kindness isn't life good? People are weak and mean and foolish, but at the same time they are kind and good and hard working. Both are tr ...more
Steven Godin
Spanning centuries in time The Bridge on the Drina is one monumental work that pulled me in right from the off. Set on and around the bridge, the little town of Višegard, and all its surroundings: hamlets nestling in the folds of steep hills, lush meadows, pastures and orchards, Andric really does a great job of bringing everything to life. The bridge, central to the town's existence in good times and bad, ties together the stories of the locals and those who are just visiting or passing through ...more
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: balkan
Images and myths purport to the mythic. Ivo Andric crafted a monument to those expectations in his novel of stories. He challenges the eternal with a construct, much as engineers spanned the natural with bridges. Once present, the innovations often appear eternal, timeless. It is a sincere hope that The Bridge on the Drina enjoys that privilege.

It remains unclear whether I have finished this novel before. Scenes like the impalement and the flood were rooted firmly in my memory. The instances and
“Between the fear that something would happen and the hope that still it wouldn't, there is much more space than one thinks. On that narrow, hard, bare and dark space a lot of us spend our lives.”
― Ivo Andrić

Published in 1945 but written earlier, probably during the war years when Nobel Prize winner Andrić had given up his diplomatic work and was living as quietly as anyone could in Belgrade during those years of upheaval, The Bridge Over the Drina is the rather unusually told history of the to
Beautiful stories centered around one bridge, following the society and individual fates throughout centuries. It made me feel nostalgic and melancholic like most Bosnian authors make me feel. It reminded me of writings of Meša Selimović, who is one of my favorite authors. I admire Ivo Andrić ability to shape and describe characters, they felt so alive and so deeply tragic. Some of the stories were too heart-breaking for me to handle, and I have to admit that the description of torture and execu ...more
Jun 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
About five years ago, an American friend of mine, whose book taste I completely respected, told me about this book. He was so enthusiastic I knew someday I would read it, even though I had never heard of the author, never heard of the book, and knew nothing about Bosnia. I never suspected then, that I would eventually be living in Istanbul someday, be familiar with Ottoman history up close, and have walked a historic Mimar Sinan stone bridge with my very own feet.

What a book! What an author! An
Stunning, sweeping and awesome fiction book that gives the history of the Balkans through the lens of the life of a bridge from the 16th century to the World War II by the Nobel Prize winning author Ivo Andric. A must read for anyone who wants to understand the complexity of Balkan conflict. A tragic story, but very touching and beautifully written.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, classics
Ivo Andric's chronicle is a series of utterly engaging vignettes that bring to life Bosnia's rich and troubled history. Serbs, Croats, Jews, and Turks form the multicultural yet labile fabric of this society. Visegrad witnesses tumultuous events- as a town in an Ottoman sanjak, protectorate under Austria-Hungary, annexation to the Dual Monarchy, and finally the Great War- each of them leaving their mark.

The practice of devshirme/blood tax causes a boy who rises up to the highest echelons of Ott
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable book with a grand sweep of almost 500 years from the building of the bridge over the Drina in the 1560s to the First World War. There are human stories throughout interwoven with the political upheavals with various factions gaining and losing ascendancy.
In the town Turks, Serbs and Bosnians mix, as do Christians and Muslims.
The centre of the bridge is wider and this kapia becomes the meeting point for parts of the community over the centuries. It is the lives, loves and tragedies
It has been a few years since I was in Višegrad, sitting in a café on the banks of the Drina, sipping coffee while looking out upon the unbelievably grand, arched bridge that traversed the width of the river.

I had come to Višegrad for the same reason I had been to many villages in Bosnia; to discuss war crimes and atrocities that took place more than two decades prior to my even stepping foot in the country. Višegrad – like Srebrenica, Prijedor, or Foča – evokes a certain consciousness of the w
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, reviewed
This is a historical novel of epic proportions, wide scope and thought-provoking, beautiful prose (naturally I regret that I am unable to read this in the native language). I found this to be a vitally important read, as it was unlike anything I have ever read before, and intellectually insightful and tactfully written about four centuries in the Ottoman and Balkan history. I am now fascinated by this history of which I was so ignorant before, and am eager to read more, both non-fiction and fict ...more
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is way beyond my powers of reviewing, but I started reading it out of a sense of duty, to learn and understand more about the Balkan history and people, and then found myself completely enthralled with it. It's as if the author has found a way to assume a godlike role in depicting humanity - as if he had taken a brush and carefully swept out of their dusty corners the people of the town of Vi­­šegrad, as their turn comes to find their way in their corner of the world and in the march o ...more
Ivo Andric's epic novel, The Bridge on the Drina represents a stunning compression of various ethnicities, events covering 350 years, shifting political allegiances & changing fashions with an iconic bridge serving at times to span seemingly irreconcilable differences and at other moments to isolate those on opposite sides of the river Drina, primarily focused on the town of Visegrad. It has been said that the erstwhile Yugoslavia was a place with one leader (Tito), two alphabets (Cyrillic & Rom ...more
Jeannette Nikolova
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.

Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina

I loved this book!

How I felt about it can be summarized in a short form, however, why I felt that way might be a bit harder to explain. Or rather, how I loved it, and not how much.

The thing is I'm not sure that anyone who is not from the Balkans would be able to understand me fully. While this world of ours might be full of corruption, uneducated people, bad governments, lawlessness and even backwardness, it's still a ve
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
A case of putting in one's mouth more than what he can swallow. Or, maybe more precisely, swallowing more than what his stomach can digest.

This book ends in the year 1914 and starts some three hundred years before, just before this great stone bridge was built on the powerful river named Drina. Three hundred fourteen pages of three hundred or so years, roughly one page per year (not that the author actually attempted to feature each year of these three centuries--many he just skipped by fast-for
To all those people who love history here is the Nobel prize winning history of the Balkans. Andrić's style and precision are staggering and his book covers the history of his homeland over several centuries. The book is much better in the original language but the English translation is well done and succeeds in capturing the mood of the region. For you history students out there this is a must read.
Inderjit Sanghera
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
The slow and sonorous cadence of Andric's prose echoes through the novel as he depicts the history of a bridge on the river Drina, from its ignominious beginnings in the imagination of a madcap Vizier, to the brutal creation under the vituperative auspices of the Ottoman Empire, to its gradual fusion with the land in the psyche of the people until it becomes a part of the town, its foundations fused with the bones of its inhabitants and its roads the stage for so many of its stories. 

In many way
I did not know anything about the history of the Balkans before reading Andric's book. After reading it, it seems that I could not have found a better way to get a vivid description of this region's story. Andric gives us snippets from life in a Balkan village across a span of 400 years, all woven together with the central theme of a bridge which stands during this period. It is a sensitive tale, which describes the tenuous but amicable relations between Muslims and Christians of the region, and ...more
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bridge construction begins with management of dictator Abid Aga and Radisav's ambush. All event expresses related with bridge as historical from beginning of the Ottoman Empires times up to first word war times. Different ethnic people live around the bridge throughout history. Many interesting things could find which occur at the bridge, loves, stories, self- destructions, events, relations, story of gambler Milan, dead of Fedovic, daughter of Avadga, Fato's story, Jevish Lotilo's story and arg ...more
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful story about a majestic bridge that stood as witness to historical events in the village of Višegrad and the surrounding countryside. It's a novel of endurance, acceptance and time passing.
Told through a series of stories that span several centuries there is something for the most jaded reader.

Worthy of a five star rating, from the Boxall 1000 list.
Kiran Bhat
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the most under-rated classics of world literature. The Bridge on the Drina is a book of great delirium, as well as a book of great magic and wonder. It's hard not to read the book as an allegory of the tragic history that would later befall Bosnia. Somehow, Andric was able to capture the decline of nations and communities, and to do so with almost mythical pause.
Jul 19, 2016 added it
Shelves: european
This book is way beyond my powers of reviewing, but I started reading it out of a sense of duty, to learn and understand more about the Balkan history and people, and then found myself completely enthralled with it. It's as if the author has found a way to assume a godlike role in depicting humanity - as if he had taken a brush and carefully swept out of their dusty corners the people of the town of Vi­­šegrad, as their turn comes to find their way in their corner of the world and in the march o ...more
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: balkans
Four centuries of history of the Balkans condensed a microcosm: a bridge set in the little Bosnian town of Višegrad, a place where worlds merge together. A bridge commissioned by an Ottoman vizir who was born an Orthodox Christian. A bridge that epitomises the union between West and East.
Andrić weaves a fabric of tales, stories and myths that involve Turks, Serbs, Montenegrins, Gypsies, Italians, Galicians, Austro-Hungarians; construction workers, soldiers, shop keepers, clergymen, gamblers or s
Not so good as expected. Perhaps the author haven't guessed what will happen in the Balkans during the bloody war in the 90's.

From Wiki:
Višegrad (Cyrillic: Вишеград, pronounced [ʋǐʃɛɡraːd]) is a town and municipality in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina resting on the Drina river and in the Republika Srpska entity. The town includes the Ottoman-era Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge, an UNESCO world heritage site.

Jovan Autonomašević
The classic of Bosnian literature. The books tells the story of the Balkans, from the middle ages until the outbreak of WWI, by telling the story of the community at the bridge built by the Sultan to link Bosnia and Serbia, the Orient and the West. The Balkan nation states emerge as first the Ottomans and then the Habsburgs come and go. But life in the little town on both sides of the bridge changes only imperceptibly, as does the bridge itself over the centuries. Yet despite its geopolitical pr ...more
Erik Graff
Mar 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: A.M.
Shelves: literature
This book was given me by a close Bosnian friend along with some other examples of the literature of her country. I'd been reading many books about the history of Yugoslavia and its constituents, but most had been by foreign authors. Reading the literature helped me begin to understand the self-consciousness of the Bosnian people.

The Bridge on the Drina is epic in scope, covering four centuries and several cultures, but intimate in much of its detail, moving back and forth from world-historical
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is a sort of fictionalized history, which the author referred to as a “chronicle” rather than a novel. It spans about 350 years in the history of Višegrad, Bosnia, telling the story of the town and its Ottoman-era bridge from the 16th century to World War I. The book dips into the lives of individual characters, usually for vignettes of a chapter or less, but focuses more on the general feeling or changes in the town and the reaction of townspeople in general to key events than on particula ...more
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anti Turk/racism 21 298 Jan 05, 2020 07:50AM  
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Goodreads Librari...: Mistake in title 3 229 Jun 14, 2019 07:34PM  
Never too Late to...: 2019 February The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric 33 70 Feb 20, 2019 06:12AM  
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Ivan "Ivo" Andrić (Cyrillic: Иво Андрић) was a Yugoslav and Bosnian novelist, short story writer and Nobel prizewinner. His writings deal mainly with life in his native Bosnia under the Ottoman Empire. His house in Travnik is now a Museum. His Belgrade flat on Andrićev Venac hosts the Museum of Ivo Andrić and the Ivo Andrić Foundation.

After the Second World War, he spent most of his time in his Be

Other books in the series

Bosnian Trilogy (3 books)
  • Bosnian Chronicle (Bosnian Trilogy, #2)
  • Gospođica

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