Ivo Andric, Misha Glenny (Introducer)
The Bridge on the Drina
The town of Visegrad was long caught between the warring Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, but its sixteenth-century bridge survived unscathed--until 1914 when tensions in the Balkans triggered the first World War. Spanning generations, nationalities, and creeds, The Bridge on the Drina brilliantly illuminates a succession of lives that swirl around the majestic stone arches. Among them is that of the bridge's builder, a Serb kidnapped as a boy by the Ottomans; years later, as the empire's Grand Vezir, he decides to construct a bridge at the spot where he was parted from his mother. A workman named Radisav tries to hinder the construction, with horrific consequences. Later, the beautiful young Fata climbs the bridge's parapet to escape an arranged marriage, and, later still, an inveterate gambler named Milan risks everything on it in one final game with the devil. With humor and compassion, Ivo Andric chronicles the ordinary Catholics, Muslims, and Orthodox Christians whose lives are connected by the bridge, in a land that has itself been a bridge between East and West for centuries.
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