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Whit [Kindle Edition]

Iain Banks
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing... Innocent in the ways of the world, an ingenue when it comes to pop and fashion, the Elect of God of a small but committed Stirlingshire religious cult: Isis Whit is no ordinary teenager.


When her cousin Morag - Guest of Honour at the Luskentyrian's four-yearly Festival of Love - disappears after renouncing her faith, Isis is marked out to venture among the Unsaved and bring the apostate back into the fold. But the road to Babylondon (as Sister Angela puts it) is a treacherous one, particularly when Isis discovers that Morag appears to have embraced the ways of the Unsaved with spectacular abandon...


Truth and falsehood; kinship and betrayal; 'herbal' cigarettes and compact discs - Whit is an exploration of the techno-ridden barrenness of modern Britain from a unique perspective.


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Review

Fierce contemporaneity, an acrobatic imagination, social comment, sardonic wit...the peculiar sub-culture of cult religion is a natural for Banks, and Luskentyrianism is a fine creation (THE TIMES)

One of the most relentlessly voyaging imaginations around (SCOTSMAN)

Entertaining...comically inspired (GUARDIAN)

Banks's remarkable juggling act, alternating his mainstream novels with his widly imaginative science fiction fantasies, is notable most of all for the continuting growth and assurance he displays in any genre... [WHIT is a] delicious satire on both the re (PUBLISHING NEWS)

Book Description

* Paperback reissue of a modern 'Pilgrim's Progress' - Iain Banks' WHIT.

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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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Whit and Wisdom of Banks 26 Jan. 2006
By Craobh Rua VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Iain Banks first novel, The Wasp Factory, was published in 1984. In the years since, he's won critical acclaim, topped best-seller lists and has even written Science Fiction books under the cunning nom-de-plume 'Iain M. Banks'. He's also seen this book, "The Crow Road", adapted for television by the BBC in 1996. "Whit" is his eighth non-sci-fi book, was first published in 1995 and comes with the subtitle "Isis Amongst the Unsaved".
The book's central character is Isis Whit, commonly called Is - though more formally known as Blessed or Beloved Isis. Isis is a Luskentyrian, a member of a religious sect founded by her grandfather, Salvador. Like him, she is very important to the faithful - she holds the position 'Elect of God' and is a future leader of the Luskentyrians. Home is High Easter Offerance - located in Scotland, on the banks of the River Forth. The book opens in May 1995, when Isis is nineteen years old and with the Festival of Love approaching. The Luskentyrians consider people born on the 29th of February very special - the Blessed Isis herself was born on that date. As a result, a Festival of Love is held every four years - at the end of May in the year preceding a Leap Year. As the end of May is nine months before the end of February and it is a Festival of Love, I'm sure you can figure out what happens at it...
Isis' cousin, Morag - while not strictly considered a missionary - has been living in London for six years. Based on her letters, it appears she has become a successful musician - an internationally renowned baryton soloist, no less. She had been due to return to High Easter Offerance for the festival, where she would have been the Guest of Honour.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By degs
Format:Hardcover
Banks does an excellent job here of turning what is in essence a simple story into a fascinating and enjoyable journey. Isis is supremely-well depicted, the events richly and vividly portrayed, and some of the characteristics of those involved so believeable that you could not help but feel real empathy (or disdain, depending on who it was) for the main players.
But it is at the higher levels where you find the true value of this book, because it forces open even closed minds on the trickiest of subjects, introducing it as it does in a dismarming, balanced, entertaining and unprejudiced way, lightly tugging at one's conscience and provoking a very considered personal response.
Cleverly done, as one would perhaps expect, but nonetheless both entertaining and rewarding throughout, and well worth the read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting! 7 Oct. 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It's hard to pigeonhole Iain Banks. As a writer he's traversed the entire literary landscape of Scotland in every medium from science fiction through thrillers, warped social satire, and even the literary equivalent of the road movie, if you count "Raw Spirit". "Whit" has a little bit of all of the above. Its leading character is also unlike almost all other Banksian narrators: the teenage Isis Whit, brought up in a remote commune by an other-worldly religious cult, is a far cry from the cynical, dysfunctional individuals who are Banks's stock in trade. In fact she's more like a modern-day Alice exploring a Wonderland of modern technology, habitual dishonesty, sexual weirdness, and unconventional spirituality. Her breathless naivety as we follow her travels through her own wide eyes paints a remarkable picture of life in modern Britain, and colours a mystery as gripping as that of "The Crow Road" and just as enchanting. Of course, by the book's end, Isis has had to come to terms with the realisation that all is not necessarily as it seems in Paradise; she leaves us older and wiser, but not, we hope, disillusioned.
For me this is easily one of Banks' best books. It's the only one of his that you might seriously contemplate lending to your grandmother and is much more accessible to the Banks newcomer than much of his work. The mystery element which pervades the story is fascinating, making this an un-put-downable read. And there are enough searching questions about life, God and the world we live in to make this much more than just another mystery story. The quirks of Banks' writing style and the weirdness of his characters come across in the most engaging way. 450 pages will pass like they're 100.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I have read all of Iain Banks novels and I read Whit first of all when it was first published in 1986. I re-read it over the weekend to write this review.

Whit is a very whimsical story, and is a great escape. It is set in the lowlands of Scotland, this time close to Sterling where in an old mansion house, a christian sect led by Salvador Whit live out a peaceful communal idyll.

The story is about Isis Whit who is Salvador's granddaughter, who is set a mission to track down her cousin Morag who left the community a few years before to pursue a career in London as a concert musician. I don't want to say much about the story, but just to say it starts as a road movie with Isis trying to make her way to London without using any conventional means of transport and in compliance with the arcane rules of her cult's faith.

The second half becomes a bit scary as the cult turns against Isis, ultimately the mystery of Morag is resolved and the story works its way to a satisfactory ending.

This is a laugh-out-loud, feel-good book. It includes surprise revelations, wacky millionaire aunts and some truly amazing mixed influence cooking: bridie samosa, channa neeps, black pudding bhaji and saag crowdie paneer.

Recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
One of his best
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Banks at his best - by a mile
Quite Iain Banks' best novel, in my opinion. It's a brilliantly written laugh-out-loud romp as the lovely, clever but naive Isis Whit sets off on an epic journey to coax her... Read more
Published 2 months ago by S. Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good book and service
Published 5 months ago by chewmeroot
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A really good read. An interesting story well told as you would expect from Mr Banks
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read
Published 12 months ago by TIm
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read
Enjoyed this unusual book from Iain Banks. An intriguing read to keep you page turning. Thoroughly recommended. Read it now.
Published 15 months ago by R. Penny
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I first read Whit about 15 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Some really funny moments throughout the book. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jennifer Juniper
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read
This man’s writing is like a treat for me. It always seems so effortless that I never think of the writer writing it, only of the story unfolding before me. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Florence Hall
4.0 out of 5 stars Cult Classic
Ian Banks on top form with an absorbing and comical look at religious cults. It's inciteful and written from a young woman's viewpoint and her relationships across all generations. Read more
Published 18 months ago by John man!
5.0 out of 5 stars Hate and love
I hated this to start but loved it by the end. Very engaging, if you suspend your local knowledge about the river Forth.
Published 22 months ago by Mr. Andrew Simpson
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