- Publisher: Orion (1 Sept. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1407208195
- ISBN-13: 978-1407208190
- Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 11 x 2.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 983,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Beggars Banquet Paperback – 1 Sep 2007
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Beggars Banquet is something of a departure for Ian Rankin and a very welcome one. Over the years, Rankin has built up an imposing portfolio of short stories. Appearing in crime magazines, written for personal appearances, or as one-off radio specials, they all resound with the singular energy and idiosyncratic characterisation of his best full-length novels. A previous collection, A Good Hanging, combined some first-rate tales with more workaday material, but this time round there isn't a single weak link, and the range of stories here is astonishing; this is a panoply of Rankin's approach to crime and mystery writing, and is that rare thing in short story collections: a book in which the tales can be read one after the other with ever-increasing pleasure.
We are taken into territory that is horrific (The Hanged Man), grimly ironic (The Only True Comedian) and even sociological (Glimmer is a hard-edged picture of how the optimism and hedonism of the 60's was swiftly eroded). And who could resist lines such as the following (in Unknown Pleasures):
He could feel the sweat, even though it was more viscous than sweat more like a sheen of cooking oil. The tenement stairwell smelt of deep-fried tomcat
But perhaps you're the kind of reader who fights shy of short story collections? Well, if you're any kind of a DI Rebus fan (and what crime enthusiast isn't?), there are eight--count them--eight stories featuring our favourite Scottish copper. And who could say no to a collection so rich in Rebus? --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Radio 4 are currently repeating a five-part series of readings of BEGGARS BANQUET at 7.45pm on Sunday evenings from 22 June to 20 July. BESTSELLERSScottish No 1 Bestseller in GLASGOW HERALD INTERVIEWS:Mail on Sunday (27 April), Property on Sunday interview with Ian on 'Why I live Where I live' REVIEWS: 'This collection proves that Rankin is a skilled practitioner of the difficult art of crime fiction in miniature...His territory - the Edinburgh of sink estates, drugs and disordered lives - does provide the backdrop for the most memorable stories here. And there is one tale, set in 18th-century Edinburgh, that suggests that Rankin as historical novelist would be well worth reading'SUNDAY TIMES 'Ian Rankin's 14th thriller in his outstanding Inspector Rebus series - A Question of Blood - is released by Orion this August. We at Midweek Towers, therfore, recommend that those of you unfamiliar with his oeuvre shouldpack your suitcases with his back catalogue as you head off for sunnier climes''Midweek Classic in NINE TO FIVE/MIDWEEK MAGAZINE 'Dip in and let the stories come to you, and you're rewarded by the craft and guile of a master thriller writer. Not just for Rankin's usual huge number of fans, but for all lovers of fine crime writing'GOOD BOOK GUIDE 'It seems to be accepted wisdom thatshort stories don't sell, which is a pity when there are collections as goodas these on the market...Rankin proves with this collection that he is a superb storyteller who can tackle anything with confidence, from the twisted mind of a serial killer to the luckiest comedian around'NORTHAMPTON CHRONICLE AND ECHO 'These tales not only explore the human condition but also the inner life of a city like no other'GREENOCK TELEGRAPH 'There is always a clever twist...Yes I will read them again over the next year'Reader Jury, BRADFORD TELEGR --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Eight of the stories involve Inspector John Rebus, all are excellent. The others vary in time and location between modern London and eighteenth century Edinburgh ("The Serpent's Back"), taking in an almost lyrical look at the Sixties ("Glimmer") on the way. Many of the stories show the adroit plotting and sense of place we associate with Ian Rankin, especially "The Hanged Man", "Video, Nasty", "The Scheme of Things" and "Somebody Got to Eddie", with their intelligent and well-plotted twists.
Perhaps the only problem with this collection, a lot more consistent than Rankins previous "A Good Hanging" (and that collection was a lot better than most writers' best), is that the Rebus novels are so outstanding. The novel format allows Rankin space for his excellent exploration of character (particularly the sympathetic portrayal of the flawed but resilient Rebus himself), the teasing out of often complex (but never overly so) plots, the superb sense of place (with the old city of Edinburgh an uncredited character) and, perhaps most impressive of all, the accurate and inspired evocation of modern Scotland in all its aspects.
But, before the main course, the starters, and while we eagerly await Rebus' next outing in "A Question of Blood", Ian Rankin ensures that we do not go hungry with this Beggars Banquet.
For those of us addicted to this series, it is a rare pleasure to be able to visit Rebus' Edinburgh without seeing an entire day, or indeed weekend, disappear as we devour the latest installment from cover to cover.
And it's not just Rebus. As the "Jack Harvey" novels showed, Rankin is not afraid to mix styles and settings in this superb collection. Some of them aren't perfect, but they're all worth a read.
This is a real gem for his fans. Widely varying subjects and styles, reflecting the diverse origins of the pieces. Some pieces leave you hanging in mid-air, wanting more, while others are taughtly drawn and have a feeling of completness: I guess that duality is what short story writers try to achieve, at their best.
I loved this book, but then I'm a confirmed Rankin fan from way back. Ideal airport lounge reading for the more sophisticated traveller- no story is too long to get badly interrupted by calls for your flight!
21 stories, 8 of which are Rebus, and all of which are excellent. I prefer the non-Rebus stories, though...the Rebus ones lack something the others contain, and the ones without him are nice and fresh, its good to read Rankin when hes not writing about Rebus. It showcases his talent more, giving us a bigger picture of what he can actually do.
The first story is a good opener, not too complex, with Rebus on good form. The stories that follow vary in their topic and style From the historical story "The Serpents Back", which is excellently written and evokes very well the spirit and atmopshere of old-Edinburgh, to "Glimmer" which is written in a strange, drealike, blunt, shifting style, about 60's culture.
For people who like twists, there are plenty of those to be had, in particular in "Someone's Got To Eddie" and "The Hanged Man" (even if in that one the twist is not very adequately explained)
"The Wider Scheme" also has a great twist, which considering the first line, the reader really should be able to guess. "Unknown Pleasures" is a nice, meandering peace which ably demonstrates the far reaches of crime and its networks. "Herbert In Motion" one of the two CWA Dagger winning stories in this collection (the other being "A Deep Hole") is a very well written story, with a great plot and a nice little sting in it's tail.
All in all, this is a superb collection of stories. Not a single one of them is a dud. They vary in styles and topics, and are all very enjoyable. A very nice offering to tide us over until the release of his next Rebus, "A Question of Blood".
This is a short story collection not to be missed by anyone, fan of Rankin (if you're not yet, why aren't you?) or not.
An absolute page-turner and one I recommend.
Go on, you know you want it!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rankin is at his best when writing a full length novel especially about Rebus & Fox. Still a fair read.Published 21 months ago by Mr. K. Robinson
Classic Rebus book. If you like the rebus books you will love this. A hard book to put down once you start.Published 23 months ago by Marvin
Interesting how the Rebus stories within this collection stand out as superior both in terms of writing style and story. Read morePublished on 8 Oct. 2013 by Goggle-eyes
Enjoyed most of the stories - especially ones from Edinburgh's past. Remember, however, all history books written from point of view of winners of conflict not losers. Read morePublished on 31 Aug. 2013 by Mrs. D. Gunn
Since buying this (which is excellent), I see that there is now also a Kindle Edition of:
The Complete Short Stories: A Good Hanging, Beggars Banquet, Atonement... Read more
I did not feel this was up to Rankin's usual good standard - story felt underdeveloped and not weighty enough for me.Published on 6 July 2013 by Wet weekend