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Walking On Glass Hardcover – 5 Jul 2001

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown; New edition edition (5 July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316858536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316858533
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,113,185 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


Inexorably powerful ... sinister manipulations and magnetic ambiguities (Observer)

The author's powerful imagination is displayed here every bit as vividly as in his debut (FINANCIAL TIMES)

Book Description

* Reissue of a modern classic for the first time in a Little, Brown hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
He walked through the white corridors, past the notice-boards with their offers of small rooms and old cars, past the coffee bar where people sat at tables, past a hole in the white floor where an old chair stood sentry over an opened conduit in which a torch shone and a man crawled, and as he left he looked at his watch: TU 28 pm 3:33 Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By 2theD on 21 April 2014
Format: Paperback
I'm no stranger to the works of Iain Banks: I've read six of his fiction novels and all of his science fiction, all totaling twenty books. All of his books (literally, all of them) linger in my mind with unique storytelling. Though I love them all, I've only reread The Algebraist (2004) and The State of the Art (1989). Again, though I love them all, they are difficult for me to synopsis, as if they are beyond the reach of my circumspection. At the end of 2012, I read Walking on Glass and began to write a review for the book when my laptop crashed. It took me a year to get around to fixing the bugger and, lo and behold, all the files were intact. So, I knew I had to reread this tantalizing piece of fiction.

Walking on Glass sounds quirky enough, speculative enough to warrant the purchase and accolade of being chosen for my 100th book of 2012. When opening an Iain Banks novel, I have never known disappointment... slight dismay or mild boredom, yes, but never discontent. Walking on Glass is the first novel of Banks to really push my mental envelop toward grasping the linkages between the three stories. Only three stories, you may guffaw, but the fictional distance and hazy parallelisms throw the reader for a loop. Bear with it, absorb it, and try to relish the experience of being challenged... something which 99% of today's fiction has forgotten to do.

Rear cover synopsis:
"Graham Park is in love. But Sara Ffitch [sic] is an enigma to him, a creature of almost perverse mystery. Steven Grout is paranoid--and with justice. He knows that They are out to get him. They are.
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By Mike N on 24 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback
I like Iain Banks, from my first exerience with The Wasp Factory many years back. This was his second - non-culture - novel, but suffers nothing from being an early work.

The story is really 3 seperate stories:
- Graham is in love with Sara ffitch, who he met via a common friend, but Sarah is sleeping with the mysterious biker Stoker.
- Grout is a somewhat confused, paranoid man who builds mazes out of science fiction books that he reads to get clues as to how to escape the prison he is in and return to his intergalactic war, where he was apparently somebody important.
- Quiss is trapped in a strange castle, playing games with his sole companion in order to win the right to answer a riddle and win his freedom.

From the start there are similarities between the Grout and the Quiss stories, though it's not clear how they intersect. Graham's story seems to have no connection at all. Towards the end of the book the 3 stories do intertwine more, and the novel finishes on a somewhat ¨meta¨ note.

I suspect that every reader will take something different away from this story, and some may dislike it for the apparent lack of resolution. I loved it - there are shades of postmodernism a la Paul Auster and Italo Calvino which really appealed to me.

I still have not read the full Banks back catalogue, but of those I have read I would say that if you like The Bridge then you will probably enjoy this one.

Higly recommended by me at any rate!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tom Douglas TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a novel based on the simple notion that all is not what it seems.
We have three separate stories, which we cycle through, so we have the first part of each story in turn, then the second part of each, and so on.
We make assumptions, we make presumptions and we draw early conclusions about the characters and the plot. Mostly because it is in our nature to do so, but also because Banks deliberately encourages us, steering us towards our undoing.
As a result the book is something of a game between author and reader. On a purely intellenctual level I would rate this 4 stars, but ultimately the book has to stand up as a good read, and on that basis its drops down to 3 stars.
It is certainly well written - clever and witty. But it suffers from its format. With 3 short stories there is no room to develop the cast, so we end up with a collection of cartoon characters. Devices rather than individuals.
Some books leave you wanting more. This left me amused but with no real sense of enrichment. But as I said at the beginning, you might enjoy it more.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was extremely disappointing. Broadly speaking, the novel consists of three highly disparate narrative threads that never quite pull together tightly or neatly enough to be truly convincing. A piece of knitting with dropped stitches. Indeed, the 'joining narrative', that of Quiss & Ajayi set in 'The Castle Of Bequest', had the stench of a bad joke about it. From the expletive loving red crow to the castle attendants, who just reminded me of minions from 'Despicable Me' (although the novel obviously predated it), this part of the novel was just plain boring. The best narrative in the book belongs to Steven Grout, the paranoid road worker who can't hold down a job. Indeed, the only reason I finished reading the book was to see what would happen to Grout.

Expected more from the author of 'The Wasp Factory'.
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