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Espedair Street [Paperback]

Iain Banks
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 7.82 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Paperback, 6 Dec 1990 7.82  
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Book Description

6 Dec 1990

Daniel Weir used to be a famous - not to say infamous - rock star. Maybe still is. At thirty-one he has been both a brilliant failure and a dull success. He's made a lot of mistakes that have paid off and a lot of smart moves he'll regret forever (however long that turns out to be). Daniel Weir has gone from rags to riches and back, and managed to hold onto them both, though not much else. His friends all seem to be dead, fed up with him or just disgusted - and who can blame them?

And now Daniel Weir is all alone. As he contemplates his life, Daniel realises he only has two problems: the past and the future. He knows how bad the past has been. But the future - well, the future is something else.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (6 Dec 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349102147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349102146
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 283,382 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


Engagingly told, cleverly constructed (TIME OUT)

Glittering pockets of wit...Banks is undoubtedly a natural (INDEPENDENT)

Book Description

* Paperback reissue of Iain Banks' ESPEDAIR STREET, 'the funniest, truest rock biopic yet' - OBSERVER

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Two days ago I decided to kill myself. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 2 Jan 2004
By A Customer
Banks is incredibly versatile as an author. Each of his books manages to deal with a wide array of subjects. Yet the commonailty of his books is the way the reader is completely drawn in to the characters.
Espedair Street - about an ex rock-star - is moving, and at the same time hilarious. It genuinely had me laughing out loud (on the Tube, not the done thing).
For once, a Scottish author has managed to portray dingy life and the struggle of a disadvantaged background, in a non-depressing manner. Congratulations.
I've found some of the reviews critical of this book as it is unrealistic. It may well be. I'm not an ex rock star, so I don't know. Don't buy it perhaps if you want a book about a rock-star. But as a book about the human being - from no-hope misery, to success and back - this is outstanding. Read this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read but flawed 11 Mar 2000
By A Customer
Espedair Street is presumably a novel Iain Banks had planned from his youth - Being lyric writer for a mega-successful rock band is an obvious fantasy for any talented writer since the 1950's - (and for many non-talented writers too, no doubt). It is also a novel that had been on my to-read list since I first started reading Banks' work a few years ago, spurred on by the enticing back-of-book notes. In common some of his later novels, noticeably Whit, Espedair Street is told in two different timeframes. The narrator, Daniel Weir, gives scenes of his current life amongst the have-nots of Glasgow, holed up in a disused Church, interspersed with the details of his career in Music that lead him to this point. Then a man from his past turns up in his present with news that creates a crisis of conscience, the resolution of which takes us through the closing chapters. As in all his work, Banks' words flow well off the page, and the novel is laced with plenty of imagination and wit, and a good pace is maintained throughout helped by a constant shifting of scene. The background to Weir's home provide an interesting fore-runner to the religion in Whit, and there are memorable scenes with a drunk dog and a pigeon, and in an aeroplane around Kent. The fight scene in the night club is skilfully choreographed, and the accidents that befall his friends are also well thought out. However, on completing the book I was left feeling that the sum of the novel added up to less than sum of the parts. The characterisations were fine as far as they went but I felt they lacked depth. In this his latter friends were better drawn than the fellow band members. Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great rock 'memoir' ! 3 Sep 2008
By Nik
'Espedair Street' is the story of Daniel Weir - 'Weird' - the songwriter of (fictional) scotish rock band Frozen Gold. The novel depicts in alternating chapters Weird's current life -in 1987- as a 31 year old ex rock star and his journey as a 17 year old in 1973 to become one. Frozen Gold are a mid seventies supergroup - think Pink Floyd meets Fleetwood Mac, with all the ego,excess, drugs, sex and booze you could wish for!

The story is pure teenage boy wish fulfillment - beautifully and poetically rendered. The yearnings Weird has for love, sex and success along with the drab wet world of early 70's scotland he wishes to escape from are very well written. Equally well written are the stories of rock success and massive excess! Weird retains our sympathy because he is enriched by success yet scarred by it and because he retains most of his teenage insecurities.

I first read 'Espedair Street' 20 years ago when I was 17 years old myself. Then the story of Daniel Weir, the stuttering loser managing to become a rock star struck a powerful chord, 'Espedair Street' was my 'Catcher In The Rye'. Reading it recently as a 37 year old was akin to rereading an old diary. I was transported back to the late 80's and had the joy of reading a much loved story all over again.

Reading it now I see 'Espedair Street' as a wonderful teenage self indulgence. I would be fascintated to know what a 17 year old from 2008 makes of it - now that the late 80's 'now' the book is set in is now so long ago!

One section made me chuckle, (pages 128 -129), Wes MacKinnon, Frozen Gold's keyboard player buys a mainframe computer,transfers their studio music recordings onto discs so he can play them on his computer...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rockstars are human too 12 Nov 2005
Daniel Weir used to be a famous rock star. Now he is only in his early thirties and knows he never has to work another day in his life. But what do you do if you’re financially successful; though don’t know how to live properly.
In between the daily events in his life, we get to find out how he became the man he is nowadays. From a shy boy who wrote songs to the biggest band in the history of rock. His past and his future can’t be seen as separate entities.
Banks is one of my favourite authors. Not every single book he writes is as good, but to me, that only shows he is human as well. He shows an incredible insight into the rock business, he seems to be able to write autobiographical stories for dozens of people. I enjoy his books a lot, need to complete my back catalogue. This one, though old, is certainly a recommender.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great item.
Delivered in time. Great item.
Published 3 days ago by John Armstrong
4.0 out of 5 stars Espedair street makes the incredible believable
You finish this book believing that celebraties are human too. Jgcgjfjjf jhkhkg jhkhg k khgk mjgjm ukghk kugku kug jug hmm km jhg hmm
Published 28 days ago by Walter
1.0 out of 5 stars An Annoying Book
I could not make myself read beyond the first few pages. I could not find find anything to detain me. My taste no doubt as others obviously enjoy it.
Published 1 month ago by Mr. David E. Cuthbert
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE Iain Banks
I read this book as a kid and fell in love with it, but realised over years of moving, I had misplaced my original copy so needed to restock my Iain Banks collection. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jonny Park
4.0 out of 5 stars Iain Banks at his best.
Who knew an old fashioned love story could be so intriguing, Iain Banks weaves a fascinating tale which keeps you engaged to the end,
Published 3 months ago by Mr Andrew Nisbet
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the usual iain banks
Read this years ago when a friend leant me her copy. Loved it but gave the book back. Just re read it as its our book club book and was really pleased that I still loved it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Natalie
5.0 out of 5 stars not anything like the Glaswegian rock starI I know.
Like most of Banks's books this has great use of language to tell a tale and unusually for Banks leaves you with an unequivocal good feeling. Read more
Published 4 months ago by pleased
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear.....
Not his best. Not good. Not average. And not even interesting for being bad. Just bland, uninteresting and I just didn't care by half way through. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Rev. H. J. Crompton
5.0 out of 5 stars Read many times
Having been through the teenage dream of wanting to be part of a mammoth rock group I always enjoy reading this.
Published 6 months ago by Paul Owen
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read.
Good story but far to many rants. Enjoyed the setting. Excellent characters and plot. Better go and buy another one!
Published 7 months ago by Donald Maciver
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