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Stonemouth [Paperback]

Iain Banks
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

3 Jan 2013

Stewart Gilmour is back in Stonemouth. After five years in exile his presence is required at the funeral of patriarch Joe Murston, and even though the last time Stu saw the Murstons he was running for his life, staying away might be even more dangerous than turning up.

An estuary town north of Aberdeen, Stonemouth, with it's five mile beach, can be beautiful on a sunny day. On a bleak one it can seem to offer little more than seafog, gangsters, cheap drugs and a suspension bridge irresistible to suicides. And although there's supposed to be a temporary truce between Stewart and the town's biggest crime family, it's soon clear that only Stewart is taking this promise of peace seriously. Before long Stu steps back into the minefield of his past to confront his guilt and all that it has lost him, uncovering ever darker stories. Soon his homecoming takes a more lethal turn than even he had anticipated.

Tough, funny, fast-paced and touching, Stonemouth cracks open adolescence, love, brotherhood and vengeance in a rite of passage novel like no other.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (3 Jan 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0349000204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349000206
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,495 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


Readable, gripping . . . One of his best (William Leith Evening Standard)

'There is more than a shade of Pip and Estella in Stewart and Ellie, and to create an emotionally satisfying while intellectually convincing ending is a rare achievement . . . Beguiling (Stuart Kelly Guardian)

The mythology of Stewart's past, and of Stonemouth itself, is utterly absorbing. Addictive, funny, and brilliantly observed (Daily Mail)

Banks at his waspish, intelligent, nuanced best. His fans will give thanks (Scotland on Sunday)

Book Description

Iain Banks at his very best - his funniest, grittiest and most exciting novel yet.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Same old, same old? 2 May 2012
Addictive, nostalgic, funny, tense and satisfying. I'm shocked to see so many unflattering reviews of Stonemouth above - (in fact I almost took note of the 'same old formula' lines myself) - but I have to disagree that this book is boring, flat, predictable... following a tried and tested formula.

Sure, Banks displays some of his more trademark themes throughout, but he does it so well. And Stonemouth is such a tight, well paced novel... the plot moves so smoothly and effortlessly, its a wonder he can evoke such knowing and telling segements of the past we are all so familier with - love, betrayal, violence, returning home....

The Steep Aproach to Garbadale may seem very much a companion piece to Stonemouth (its no Crow Road - he may never surpass that), but Garbadale I found a little clunky in places, a tad too long.

Stonemouth cuts to the chase. Yes there a family secrets and a sense of dread in Stewart returning home. Yes there are romantic moments and themes on lost love.... but if you've been a fan of his and find his storytelling so real and close to home, then this will not disappoint.

The music/ drugs/ childhood anicdotes and smart-alec quips are all here, but you'd be hard pressed to find another writer who can do it in the way Banks can.

Perhaps some were hoping for something a little different, sure. But do not be put off by a 1/2 star review stating Banks is perhaps lazily revisiting old ground here.... Its handled beautifully - a very accomplished book, well paced, tone pitch perfect and one of the more satisfying endings I've seen in Banks for a while now.

Better than Steep Approach, but no Crow Road - 4 stars seems about right
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48 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars modern love 2 April 2012
By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This novel is essentially a love story, and a very modern one, where the main characters, who are in their mid twenties, experiment with almost everything - often with serious consequences. The story is centred around the return of Stewart Gilmour from London, where he has found some success, to his home town near Aberdeen, and his reunion with the people he grew up with, including his former girlfriend, some close friends and a number of people who he has enraged in the past by his actions.

The town of Stonemouth has problems; an unusually high fatality rate involving the nearby bridge, a strong drug culture, and the presence of two dominant families, who mix legal and illegal activity in fairly equal measure. The story is unfolded against this backdrop. Iain Banks covers strong themes here; loyalty, friendship, enduring love, fear and courage, and beautifully evokes aspects of life in Scotland, as well as what it is to be young, smart, and prone to making some very bad decisions.

This is a beautifully written and highly enjoyable work of fiction. I found myself caring what happened to the main characters and I was sorry when it was finished.

Highly recommended
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Awright...' 7 Aug 2012
'Whit're ye reading?'
'"Stonemouth" by yon Iain Banks.'
'Whit like is it?'
'Is it wan o'thae wi' the spaceships an'that?'
'Huz it got folks explodin' an' that?'
'Whit like is it, then?'
'Some shagger shags aw the gurls and gits hissel into a spot o'bother.'
'Braw! Will ye read it agin?'
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars the author not the book 13 Aug 2013
By Bobbie
Getting the negatives out of the way first: 60+ named characters, many of whom are mentioned only once, is too many for comfort. The hero is hard to like or to care about, and the payoff is a bit limp. Nevertheless, it absorbed me because much of the writing is lovely, it often made me smile, and it was good to spend a week in Iain Banks's company. I kinda liked the author more than the book, if that makes any sense.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A slightly challenging read. 25 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read a good number of Iain's books. Some are an easy read with the story running smoothly along. Some, like this one, are slightly more challenging to work out whether we are in the present or looking back. Whatever, Iain's usual knack of dialogue and getting to know the characters works well in this book. Great pity he's no longer with us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I was gripped 28 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Stonemouth was my first read of Banks having only seen the TV drama of Crow Road several years ago and has now encouraged me to read more of his fiction. Am not a fan of sci-fi so unable to comment on his other genre. From the start of the book, I got into the sharp scottish accent with all the characters and could picture every description whether it was scenery, town, or their characters. A tale combining first loves, childhood friendships, jealousy, rivalry, drug culture, describing how life really is within a small depressed town. For me, this book had an engaging storyline that I got into and couldn't put down. Romance, anger, depression, humour & wit all in one hit. Definitely worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Farming and Fishing don't mix 26 Jun 2013
Let's answer some of the criticisms before starting .I'll concede the main character seems a bit old for his years, the techie references could be a bit distracting for some (though I'm geeky enough to have hardly noticed them) and the plot is a lot more straightforward and predictable than we've come to expect from Iain Banks. None of the above alters the fact that this is a cracking read.
We have here a superb evocation of place, aching nostalgia for better times, very touching explorations of growing up, love, home and friendship. These bits are so delicately done that you're left feeling that the plot hardly matters, for example the passage where our hero remembers a walk with his love and a smelly dog on a windswept beach is entirely peripheral, some may say unnecessary but it's wonderfully atmospheric, even lyrical. You could argue this sort of stuff is out of place in a thriller but then is this really a thriller? Sure it has the usual Banks staples, booze, drugs, cars, violence, beautiful young people being beautiful. You'll know the sort of thing if you've read any of his other main stream fiction but this time the love story seems far more central. It may seem strange to apply the word delicate to a book that's full of four letter words but delicate it is, genuinely moving in places (and pure slapstick in others). It all sounds a bit unlikely but he really does bring it off very well.
In short a love story masquerading as a thriller, complete with a happy ending that (somehow) manages to avoid being sentimental. The best Banks I've read for a long time. Indeed the best novel I've read for a long time. Thoroughly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Another Great book by Ian banks
Thoroughly recommended and will be . Loved by Banks fans. Will now get another
Published 28 days ago by Mr B J Fitzpatrick
5.0 out of 5 stars As always
Have yet to be disappointed with an Iain Banks novel. As with all the others I've read he has an amazing way with building characters and although sometimes plot lines or twists... Read more
Published 1 month ago by martin hyde
3.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like this...
I had read many good things about this book before I picked it up. I used to love Iain Banks' novels, particularly Crow Road and Espedair Street. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley
4.0 out of 5 stars Stonemouth
I was pleased to see Mr Banks return to form for what was sadly his last novel.

The cover adequately describes the content: tender, funny and exciting. Read more
Published 2 months ago by David Brookes
1.0 out of 5 stars Further proof of Iain Banks decline.
Maybe it's time for me to stop reading Iain Banks books. I haven't read that many recently; having read this I'm thankful for that. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gautama
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
A love story but with real people. The story was a little slow in places (hence the 4 stars), but it was an excellent read all the same. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs T
5.0 out of 5 stars A birthday gift for our son in law
Arrived well packaged andin good time for his birthday. I am sure he will be very happy once he finds the time to sit and read. Thank you.
Published 3 months ago by Kath
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best!
Iain Banks in good form good story well told got it to read for our local book reading group we all enjoyed it.
Published 3 months ago by Mr M J Barber
4.0 out of 5 stars Scotland for the brave?
Really absorbing book with a plausible story line and characters. Rather violent at times, but the author spins the tale so that you are well and truly hooked. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs Rosalyn A Burgess
5.0 out of 5 stars exellent +++++
great book, great story as always with ian banks.
payment was very easy and delivery was very fast.
now just to get the rest of ian banks novels
Published 3 months ago by graham
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