The Coma by Alex Garland The Coma begins with the narrator, Carl, coming home from work on the London Underground where he's brutally beaten by a gang of thugs. Carl wakes in a hospital and suffers through a series of experiences that don't quite seem right, until he realizes he's really in a coma. He struggles to find a waking trigger, a memory that will bring him out of the coma, but he can't even remember his last name. As Carl experiences each new event, he, as well as the reader, is not sure which is reality and which is a dream. Alex Garland (author of The Beach) has fashioned a short novel that explores this blurred line between dreams and reality. The Coma has received mixed reviews. Salon.com calls it "a dark and sometimes terrifying story that derives its somber beauty from the directness and precision of Garland's writing."