The Coma audio book (review)
Alex Garland’s The Coma (Faber/Penguin, unabridged, 2 CDs, 2 hr, £12.99, offer £10.39) is perfect audiobook material. Carl has been beaten into a coma by Tube-train thugs, and we are inside his head, hearing the world as he is experiencing it, a prolonged dream that takes him back into his past and reinterprets his presence. Reality and illusion elide: is he picking up the broken threads of his life, or on a life-support machine? Garland has a clinically accurate eye for telling details, and builds up the young man’s world so that we know not what he does, or even his official identity, but much deeper things about him: how he thinks, what sort of person he is. Matthew MacFadyen’s reading is beautifully paced, by turns full of menace, panic-stricken, nostalgic, tender and wise.