The Coma, Paperback Book
2.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Carl is brutally assaulted in an underground train while protecting a young woman from a gang of thugs.

Beaten unconscious, he lies for days in a hospital bed.

On discharge Carl starts to notice strange leaps in time, distortions in his experience.

Is he truly interacting with the outside world, or could he still be in the coma?

The Coma is the new novel from Alex Garland - a gripping mystery and stylistic tour de force that delves deep into the subconscious mind, with brilliantly disturbing results.

It is illustrated with 45 woodcuts by Nicholas Garland.


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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Coma starts off very promisingly; Carl is in a coma, and we suffer along with him all his experiences, never sure what is real and what imagined, never sure what is his real state or condition. Up to this point it is a fascinating read, and we are probably switching from one opinion to another as to what the reality is, however when we finally learn what the reality is comes as something of a let down. There is no question about the quality of the writing and how well it conveys dream like images, but its drift toward a somewhat predicable conclusion seems to be a lost opportunity, an opportunity for something really imaginative.

Review by

Alex Garland wrote <i>The Beach</i> and the screenplay for <i>28 Days Later</i>, so I was expecting something a bit less predictable from this shortish story, illustrated with woodcuts by his father, political cartoonist Nicholas Garland. <i>The Coma</i> makes the reader think, but our thought-lines run in fairly obvious directions, as does Carl’s, the narrator and coma patient. It has – or could have, if Garland had let it – an interesting psychological angle, and there are moments that provoke an unsettled reaction, but as professional a writer as Garland obviously is, I can’t help feeling that the subject and event line were pulled from a list of college essay-writing options.An easy read, not a complete waste of time, but I was left with the urge to smack the author about the head and point out that he’s a high calibre writer who can deliver better.

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