The Bridge

I’m not painting at the moment as I’m preparing to move house.  I have limited physical ability so I’m concentrating on what really has to be done but I need to rest in between to get my strength back each day.  Although that’s quite frustrating I’ve found that I can use that down-time to do some reading which is really enjoyable.   I’ve been re-reading William Gibson’s Bridge Trilogy:

  1. Virtual Light
  2. Idoru
  3. All Tomorrow’s Parties

bridge trilogy books

I really loved them the first time I read them, quite a few years ago now, but they don’t seem to have lost anything with time.

The stories are centred around a bridge in San Francisco in the future.  It was damamged and no longer used after an earthquake.  After some time of being fenced off and deserted, homeless people started living on it and formed their own naturally occuring post-modern culture.  It’s kind of beautiful in it’s own way.  Anyway there these three brilliant stories which weave in and around this unusual place and they fit together into a loose kind of trilogy.


I find it quite difficult to explain exactly what I like about them, they just give me a feeling from the words which makes me feel relaxed and happy.  In his writing I find a kind of sympathetic understanding of the joy of the details of objects.


For example from Idoru:

“She complained, always, that the nature of celebrity was much the worse for wear. Strip-mined, Laney gathered, by generations of her colleagues.

She propped her feet on the ledge of a hotdesk. She wore meticulous little reproductions of lineman’s boots, buckled across the instep and stoutly laced to the ankle. He looked at her legs, their taut sweep from wooly sock tops to the sandpapered fringe of cut-off jeans. The tattoo looked like something from another planet, a sign or message burned in from the depths of space, left there for mankind to interpret.

He asked her what she meant. She peeled a mint- flavored toothpick from its wrapper. Eyes he suspected were gray regarded him through mint-tinted contacts.”

I just love the details in this. They make me feel like I’m eating cherries (my favourite fruit) and something inside me seems to sing for joy because, in this detail-rich writing, I think I kind of feel a sense of connection.  It’s like something in me resonates with the descriptions of a hundred thousand perfect little facts desribing actual things and I just feel joy, again and again.  There is lots of other writing which I enjoy but only Gibson gives me this feeling to this degree.  Raymond Chandler is a bit like that, as is Richard Morgan at times but Gibson is always like that.  I love it.

I wonder if this joy in the small flat facts of objects is part of the way autism affects me or if this is something that people generally like – after all Gibson is  a very popular author.  It seems, when I read his work, that I have found someone who looks at the world in a similar way to me to some extent and is interested in the small things which really touch my heart.


The second thing I really like about Gibson is that he doesn’t describe characters in terms of their character – he’ll describe what they’re wearing and the absolutle and complete details of what they do and how they do it and, just like in life, you have to see what kind of person they are by their actions.  So as you read the book you kind of get to know the people in it.  I really really like that too.  Also, with his characters I like it that they all seem to have strengths and weaknesses and they’re all really interesting people – like ‘Sammy Sal’ in Virtual Light.  He’s this black gay bike messenger with a sound system on his bike which runs through the structure of the bike – almost using it for a soundboard.  He’s such a vivid character and a really nice bloke too.  Skinner really intrigues me as well – he’s this bear of a man now old and a bit done in but with this part of him which still rescued Chevette (a young woman with a virus making her ill).  Then there’s Yamazaki  – a Japanese Social Scientist interested in the details of how culture changes and yet his actions and way of doing things is beautiful.  I feel this sense of stillness with him, of being in the right place at the right time, when the chapters are from his point of view.

They are fabulous books.  I would highly recommend them.   😀






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