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The Bridge on the Drina

(Bosnian Trilogy #1)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  13,389 ratings  ·  952 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 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 Ivo Andric's
Paperback, 314 pages
Published 1977 by University of Chicago Press (first published 1945)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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Start your review of The Bridge on the Drina (Bosnian Trilogy, #1)
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 ...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
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, classic, fiction
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 ...more

“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
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!
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: classics, favorites
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
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
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 very
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
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 ...more
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.
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
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.
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
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 ...more
Onur B
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bridge construction which was starting with management of dictator Abid Aga and Radisav's ambush. All event expressed related with bridge as historical from beginning of Ottoman Empires times up to first word war times. Different ethnics are living around the bridge throughout history. Many interesting thing could found 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 ...more
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 ...more
Ivo Andric describes the life and times of the people of Visegrad, a small riverside town in Bosnia, from 1516 to 1914. The novel begins as a boy from a nearby town is taken by force to serve the government in "Stambul". He rises in the ranks to Grand Viser (sic) and commands the construction of a bridge as a gift to his hometown.

The bridge provided not only a means to connect two parts of Visegrad, (an undependable ferry had been the only previous means) it was a vital part of the community.
Rowland Pasaribu
In the second half of the 16th century a Turkish Grand Vizir had a bridge built over the river Drina at Vishegrad, in what is now eastern Bosnia; in 1914, during the First World War, it was destroyed by the retreating Austrians. The Bridge on the Drina is a novel — or more accurately, perhaps, a cross between a novel and a series of short stories — woven around the unifying subject of that bridge. While much is made of the contrast between the enduring stone of the bridge and the ephemeral lives ...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
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 ...more
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5 stars
April 2009: Back in graduate school, when our idea of a really good time was studying abstruse social theory, there was one or another -ism that purported to explore the linkages between the large-scale forces of Big History and the local lived experience of individuals. I remember it as a very compelling piece of theorizing with gobs of intellectual merit, lacking only in any kind of applicability to empirical research. And so Big History and lived experience remained sadly disconnected, as ...more
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, library, balkans
The Bridge is so important to the novel, it is almost a character itself. The author called it a "dumb witness" to what happens in the town of Visegrad through the years. The Bridge spans the Drina River on the Sarajevo road. The story covers three and a half centuries; the author calls it a chronicle. There are many, many characters: Bosnian, Serbian, and Turk. They, for most of the story, are peaceable neighbors. I liked the vignettes about the various vividly described and sympathetic, ...more
Nov 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: balkans
This is an essential text on the Balkans, and a boldly structured book, basically episodes in the life of the bridge at Visegrad on the Bosnian-Serbian border; the bridge is therefore witness to endless tensions, and a symbol of the necessary but constantly challenged links between Muslim and Serbian communities there. The early chapters are brutal and enthralling; towards the end, with the Austrians muddling everything up, it gets a little confused and there is more philosophising than ...more
This is an extraordinary novel, which tells the history of the Bosnia from the 16th century to the end of the First World War, through the perspective of one small town, Višegrad, and its bridge. The story is as much about the folklore and ideas of the people, as it is about their history. The tale of the building of the bridge becomes a legend, a story passed down from generation to generation. The bridge itself becomes a vital part of everyday life of the people, whether they are Muslim, ...more
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anti Turk/racism 21 288 Jan 05, 2020 07:50AM  
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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

Other books in the series

Bosnian Trilogy (3 books)
  • Bosnian Chronicle Bosnian Trilogy, #2)
  • Gospođica Bosnian Trilogy, #3)
“Forgetfulness heals everything and song is the most beautiful manner of forgetting, for in song man feels only what he loves.” 83 likes
“كان العثمانيون يقولون: ثلاثة لا يمكن أن تبقى خافية (الحب، والسعال، والفقر).” 38 likes
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