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Dead Air Paperback – 27 Mar 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; Open Market Ed UK Airports edition (27 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349116288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349116280
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 3 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,574,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Iain Banks came to widespread and controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, The Wasp Factory, in 1984. He gained enormous popular and critical acclaim for both his mainstream and his science fiction novels. Iain Banks died in June 2013.

Product Description

Amazon Review

There's no question that the anticipation for each successive Iain Banks novel grows ever greater, and Dead Air is a literary event. The sardonic, inventive prose guarantees a unique reading experience with each new book (the misfires may be counted on one hand), and whatever genre he tackles, Banks is one of the most stimulating writers at work in Britain today.

His protagonist here is Ken Nott, a character as penetratingly realised as ever. He's a committed contrarian, ekeing out a living as a left-wing radio shock-jock in London. He makes his home in a loft apartment in the East End, in a former factory due to be demolished in a few days. After a wedding breakfast, people begin to pitch fruit from a balcony on to a deserted car park 10 storeys below; then they begin dispatching other things: a broken TV, a loudspeaker with a ruptured cone, bean bags and other useless furniture. Then the guests enter a kind of frenzy and start dropping things that are still working, at the same time trashing the rest of the apartment. But suddenly mobile phones start to ring urgently and they're told to turn on the TV, because a plane has just crashed into the World Trade Center. And Ken Nott finds his life is to change irrevocably.

Banks's subject here is nothing less than the survival of the individual in the face of a chaotic world. The destruction of personality under the lacerating values of modernity is a subject repeatedly addressed by JG Ballard (and that author's shadow is clearly evident here), and although this is one of the Iain Banks novels in which he pointedly does not use the "M" in his name that marks his science fiction, this nightmare vision of contemporary London has more than a trace of that genre in its sense of fractured reality. But all the caustic humour and dark character development that Banks excels in are fully in place. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

There's no question that the anticipation for each successive Iain Banks novel grows ever greater, and Dead Air is a literary event. The sardonic, inventive prose guarantees a unique reading experience with each new book (the misfires may be counted on one hand), and whatever genre he tackles, Banks is one of the most stimulating writers at work in Britain today. (His protagonist here is Ken Nott, a character as penetratingly realised as ever. He's a committed contrarian, ekeing out a living as a left-wing radio shock-jock in London. He makes his home in a loft apartment in the East End, in a former factory due to)

Banks's subject here is nothing less than the survival of the individual in the face of a chaotic world. The destruction of personality under the lacerating values of modernity is a subject repeatedly addressed by JG Ballard (and that author's shadow is c (Barry Forshaw, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW)

The kind of exhausting, careering ride of a novel adored by speed junkies. Possibly, it's just what we all need (INDEPENDENT)

Banks has pulled off a great double - a deeply satirical and though-provoking thriller that will make you laugh but will also have you shredding your fingernails (SUNDAY EXPRESS)

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mr. B. J. Smith on 14 Sep 2002
Format: Hardcover
I've read all of Iain Bank's works, so I guess I'm a fan, but I found this book disappointing. The main character - as in Complicity - is left-wing, works in the media, takes drugs, is sexually active. Unlike Complicity, there is little or no real story, instead the vast majority of the book is spent listening to the narrator's views on what is wrong - and right - with the world.
Now, I'm a Guardian-reading liberal who would agree with over 80% of the polemic in this book, but listening to the main character's diatribes becomes tiring. I was turning the pages looking for a story, a twist, a revelation, and ultimately I was not rewarded.
Iain, if you read this, I think you are a wonderful writer and I share your viewpoints but please next time bring more of your story-telling arts and capacity for drama and humour to the party, and leave the rants at the state of the world behind.
Finally, why do I appear to be the first person reviewing this book ?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 18 May 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the best Iain Banks story to have been published for years and is a reminder of the quality of writing, wit and ideas that he brought to earlier classics (The Bridge, The Crow Road and Espedair Street). This is straight fiction (as opposed to the SF he writes under Iain M Banks) and follows the life of a radio DJ in London. While there is plenty of social and political comment and dash of thrills, this is essentially a love story.
And while the protagonist Ken, is without doubt a philanderer, his quick wit keeps him interesting and engaging to the reader (well to me in any case). The other characters aren’t so well fleshed out, but as it is written in the 1st person by someone who is rather fond of their own voice this is perhaps forgivable.
Set post “September 11th” and with politics that Michael Moore might well agree with it may not suit everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would heartily recommend it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Muir on 18 Oct 2003
Format: Paperback
Reading this book is like watching your Dad dancing at a wedding disco. I am a great fan of Iain Banks' earlier works, particularly The Crow Road, The Bridge, and the Wasp Factory but I can't help feeling that he is losing his touch. Reading "Dead Air" made me cringe.
Why? Leaving aside the weakness of the plot and the cliched stereotypes of the main characters, my main impression of the book was that Iain Banks was trying to prove something - or several things. The sexual content is graphic, crude and gratuitous. It adds little to the story and seemed to me like it should belong in some sort of dodgy airport "erotic novel." As mentioned in other reviews here, the political rants appear to be thinly-veiled attempts to get Banks' own views across. The smutty radio-chat sections are woeful (or maybe I just missed the irony there). And the cultural references just seemed to be trying much too hard to show Banks is (still?) cool.
All in all, it lacks substance, it's trashy, and therefore a real disappointment. I can't decide if it's me or Banks' writing that has changed since I so enjoyed his earlier books. I hope it's the latter - so that there's the possibility of a return to form with his next book.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Helge A. Gudmundsen on 12 July 2003
Format: Paperback
I have a strange relationship with the books of Iain Banks. Some of them I love, others I really dislike. "The Bridge" is one of my favorite books by any author, and "A song of stone" I couldn't even finish reading.
I was pleasantly surprised to read "Dead Air". I had seen some reviews being rather lukewarm to the book, but I found myself really liking it. The dialogue is as sharp as ever, and the plot twists nicely and keeps you guessing what's going to happen next.
If you like books like "The Bridge", "The Crow Road", "Complicity" and "Whit", my guess is you'll also like this one. I highly recommend it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. Green VINE VOICE on 25 Feb 2008
Format: Paperback
Barcode: 9780349116648

I read this just after i read The Wasp Factory and well... let's just say this is a very different story, both in content and quality. Don't get me wrong, Banks is a fantastic writer and it shows in this book, thus the 4 stars. The plot is tense, the dialogue witty and the characters likable. Above all, it is intensely realistic, and that is where my doubts first come in.

It is almost too realistic. When reading people like to escape but this is way too close to home, set as it is in contemporary London, dealing with terrorism and so on. This is one of those texts where you just wish the lead character would get a break and something good would happen but instead he just comes up against misfortune upon misfortune right up to the end.

The sex scenes feel overly seedy, the true love that is behind them not shwoing through enough although aside from that are are quite a few moments of genuinely charming interaction between various characters. Also, like another reviewer said, prepare yourself for major social/political views to come flying at you - it is quite clear the author likes to invest his characters with what he thinks and it shows all too clearly. Now, as best i can remember, i didn't object to his views overly, they't just a bit in your face and are they really the thing you want to read about when you pick up a novel?

I'd still recomend this book though as it is fascinating and it'd make for a great film. Bank's gift at realism is incredible and it is worth reading his book for that alone.
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