Alex Garland’s claim to fame is The Beach, a Thailand-inspired cautionary tale. While The Beach is a layered ensemble novel, The Coma strives for the opposite. The biggest drawcard here is the concept: a man’s perception of reality is warped following his emergence from a coma.
Look, I won’t beat around the bush. Although I consider this a short, worthwhile read, this book carried an unshakeable feeling of insubstantiality. Its narrative is a thin mechanisation, an exercise in cleverness. There’s no sense that Garland wants to immerse or entertain the reader. This is not a fully realised novel, but a vehicle for the author to explore his interest in the subconscious mind. Continue reading