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The Quarry [Paperback]

Iain M. Banks
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 15 April 2014 --  
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Book Description

15 April 2014

Kit doesn't know who his mother is. What he does know, however, is that his father, Guy, is dying of cancer. Feeling his death is imminent, Guy gathers around him his oldest friends - or at least the friends with the most to lose by his death. Paul - the rising star in the Labour party who dreads the day a tape they all made at university might come to light; Alison and Robbie, corporate bunnies whose relationship is daily more fractious; Pris and Haze, once an item, now estranged, and finally Hol - friend, mentor, former lover and the only one who seemed to care.

But what will happen to Kit when Guy is gone? And why isn't Kit's mother in the picture? As the friends reunite for Guy's last days, old jealousies, affairs and lies come to light as Kit watches on.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Redhook; Reprint edition (15 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316281832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316281836
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,063,607 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


Eerily compelling (William Leith Evening Standard)

The Quarry is not a book to be afraid of. It is a novel shot through with Banks' trademark humour, political engagement and humour . . . Banks has always been adept at evoking friendship, with its illogical loyalties and messes (Louise Welsh The Times)

It's a sign that in Banks we had a novelist of supreme subtlety and won who, in fiction as in life, and for all the concentrated horror of his debut novel, all the epic estrangements of his "skiffy" (sci-fi), and all the grimness of his final months, had an irrepressibly sense of fun that is evident on every page of The Quarry (Brian Morton Independent)

As always with Banks the dialogue is a sheer delight, whether it be baleful drink-and-drug fuelled reminiscence or bickering one-upmanship . . . It is the central characterisations that give the novel its power . . . Banks handles the challenge brilliantly . . . Despite his cruelty, most readers will adore Guy. It helps that his expletive-filled jeremiads comprise some of the funniest writing Banks has ever produced . . . But then for twenty-nine years Banks has made it his business to inspire sympathy for monsters . . . It may be this element of compassion that accounts for why so many readers are now experiencing a keen grief for the loss of a writer who has the rare gift of being infallibly entertaining (Jake Kerridge Daily Telegraph)

This is vintage Banks, full of heart, black comedy and vitriol, and is sure to delight his fans (Sunday Mirror) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

The new novel from Iain Banks, the bestselling author of The Wasp Factory. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very personal novel. 26 Jun 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Quarry is about a gathering of former university housemates who come together for a long weekend in the house they shared while at college. The house is the family home of one of the group, Guy, who is dying of cancer and he has asked them to come together one last time while he is still alive.

The characters in this book came to life for me. I got to know their views and their foibles. Their actions and conversation were consistent throughout the book and the interactions with the others were totally believable. I felt I was with the group for that long weekend in the North East of England.

When I find interesting pieces in a book I take note of the page number for future reference. I found many such pieces in The Quarry.

In an interview with Stuart Kelly that was printed in the Guardian on 15th June, 2013, just six days after Iain Banks' death, Iain is quoted as saying, "let's face it; in the end the real best way to sign off would have been with a great big rollicking Culture novel." He was still very proud of "The Quarry", and rightly so.

While Iain referred to the book as a "relatively minor piece" it is still an excellent novel and those readers who are familiar with Iain's views on the world, the universe and everything, will recognize many of his firmly held beliefs expressed in the words of Guy. Religion, politics, corruption, racism, violence and corporate exploitation of the poor all come in for mention in what could be described as a manifesto of Iain's views.

As an avid reader of Iain Banks and Iain M.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars as ever drawn in 6 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Just finished The Quarry and unable to start another book so instead will comment on this. I have read both Iain Banks and Iain M Banks books since the publication of the Wasp Factory in the 1980s. So coming to this book was sad knowing it was the last and knowing the topic was close to what was happening to him. If he had not been fatally ill would we all have been thinking of this as a book about a young man with Aspergers? How much did news of young hackers with autism or the financial abuse of Scottish Artist Peter Howson influence the original idea. These have all been strong media stories in Scotland over the last few years as have issues about personal care and end of life decisions.

However this was a book I found hard to put down. I found it both sad & funny but also enlightening. I rarely comment on books being keen instead to dive into the next one. This is a book however I do not want to taint with the taste of other books. Enjoyed the book and will misss the author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting epitaph 4 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Not his best book. Perhaps by some way, as it lacks much of the complexity and intricacy of many of his other books. And yet... and yet... It's all about context. This is his final book, and given the subject matter and a plot that slowly twists and turns towards its denouement, you won't read a more moving novel this year. I don't think Iain Banks was in any way 'Guy' in the novel, but you get to the latter's 'after death' manifesto, and you see the real passion that inspired so much of the former's writing.

Anyway, I'm a hard-nosed b*****d, but it made me cry.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great sadly. 12 July 2013
By S. Way
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was really looking forward to reading this as I'm a massive fan of Iain's writing, I'll try and leave his very sad death out of the review and try and judge the book as I would any of his others.

... and that is my first problem, it's a good read overall and I did enjoy it but it just isn't as good as many of his others. I've given the book 3 stars but to be honest if you put this book up against almost any other work of fiction published in the last 12 months it should really have 4 or even 5 stars, but put alongside his fantastic body of work since the wasp factory and it falls somewhere in the lower half for me.... but even that still makes it a good read.

If you enjoy Iain's books you will enjoy it, it has a lot of his 'trademarks' and his usual writing style but it doesn't quite fill me with the same sense of wonder that a lot of his writing does, It starts quite promisingly and it's in typical Banks territory in a lot of ways, I 'got into' the book straight away and found the characters interesting.. and that's the second problem, most of them don't really get any more interesting than they first appear (aside from a couple of characters which I won't go into detail as not to spoil it) I guess I just wanted more character development and suprises that I know Iain can do so well.

Plot, well here's another problem, I have no problem with books that are 'about people' and I wasn't expecting some big hollywood-like movie plot obviously but the 'red herring' threads in this book I found a little frustrating because he sets up so many things that have so much potential but ultimately come to nothing and when I realised I only had a couple of pages left of the book I felt a little disappointed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting end to an astonishing career...
I have been a fan of Iain (M.) Banks for some time and have long since admired his unique and beautiful, if not at times twisted and sardonic, views on life. Read more
Published 4 days ago by sam lockley
1.0 out of 5 stars sympathy vote
If writing this book was therapeutic for Ian Banks, then I am pleased, because in all his interviews he was such a cheerful, positive gentleman. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Buddy
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
Interesting book and very realistic about the coming together of old friends and their old grievances re surfacing. Read more
Published 8 days ago by irene
5.0 out of 5 stars His last
There are very few (in fact no other) author I have always excitedly awaited there next publication. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Marcus
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept but a dull read
Book got off to a good start. A range of interesting characters and a bit of mystery. By about half-way through the book it felt like the author had decided what the ending was and... Read more
Published 13 days ago by Mike
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
I really could not get into this at all and gave up after a couple of chapters. Better luck next time.
Published 14 days ago by Bumble
4.0 out of 5 stars A fitting epitaph
A group of friends, who all met at university some twenty years earlier, gather for a weekend at the house of Guy, who is dying of cancer. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Christopher Sullivan
3.0 out of 5 stars From [...]
Guy is suffering from cancer and feels his death is not far away. He gets some close friends to Willoughtree House for a bit of a gathering and The Quarry is set over the course of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kevin Freeburn
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Finale
A very well written, emotional, well paced, funny, amusing and sad book. A great epitaph of a book for a great author
Published 1 month ago by S. Tickner
3.0 out of 5 stars Summary of "The Quarry"
It was a book club choice, which I read and was quite pleasantly surprised, the dialogue was good, the plot a little thin and the characters not fully developed, there were a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Peter Waring
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