This is only the second Iain Banks novel that I have read, the first being The Wasp Factory. Consequently, I really wasn't sure what to expect - would this be similarly dark and psychological? In some ways, yes, but essentially it is a sweeping family saga, crossing three (and almost four) generations. Despite the interweaving threads and movements back and forwards in time, Iain Banks' writing makes the story easy to follow. This is partly due to the strongly drawn characters; each is distinctive and memorable without resorting to caricature. What I loved most was the shifts between comedy, pathos, tragedy and suspense, all carefully orchestrated and never jarring. For me, it was a book that totally drew me in and I thoroughly looked forward to escaping into it on my commute to and from work each day.