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155 Reviews
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Same old, same old?
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...
Published on 2 May 2012 by M. Traynor

versus
35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Awright...'
'Whit're ye reading?'
'"Stonemouth" by yon Iain Banks.'
'Whit like is it?'
'Awright.'
'Is it wan o'thae wi' the spaceships an'that?'
'Naw.'
'Huz it got folks explodin' an' that?'
'Naw.'
'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?'...
Published on 7 Aug 2012 by Dogbertd


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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Same old, same old?, 2 May 2012
By 
M. Traynor (North Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Stonemouth (Hardcover)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bildungsroman, 5 Dec 2013
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Stonemouth (Paperback)
Bildungsroman
: a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character
MerriamWebster

This is my first Iain Banks book, why, I have no idea. I am of Scottish heritage, my maiden name, MacLeod, and I love all things Scottish. Reading the initial PR about thus book caught my attention, and I was not disappointed. This is the real Scotland, not the tourist's brand. Stewart Gilmour returns to his hometown, meets a man on the bridge that enters town, and is also the jumping off place for some poor souls. He needs the OK from the town's head mobster to return for a funeral. It seems he was run off from town a while ago for some deed we are not privy to. As the story moves alng, we do find the reason, but it is a long long time coming.

The Murstons are the family with the money and the misdeeds. The author treats us to Stewart Gilmour's life as he grows up in Stonemouth to set the stage for the finale. We meet the friends, the foes, relatives, the townspeople, and how they all work together to formulate the culture of this town. Gilmour's returns to town as an educated professional man, and he is envied and defiled, depending which side you are on.

The writing is swift and superb. The characters jump out at you. This is a book that gives as good as we get. I don't want to spoil one page for anyone. You will want to continue to read until you can't keep your eyes open. What we learn fairly early on is that you can't go home again easily. All those unanswered questions, may be best not answered. What we know as a young person, may not be at all what we know for sure as an adult.

Recommended. prisrob 12-04-13
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I was gripped, 28 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Stonemouth (Paperback)
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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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars modern love, 2 April 2012
By 
markr - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Stonemouth (Hardcover)
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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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Awright...', 7 Aug 2012
By 
Dogbertd (Brussels, BE) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Stonemouth (Hardcover)
'Whit're ye reading?'
'"Stonemouth" by yon Iain Banks.'
'Whit like is it?'
'Awright.'
'Is it wan o'thae wi' the spaceships an'that?'
'Naw.'
'Huz it got folks explodin' an' that?'
'Naw.'
'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?'
'Naw.'
'Awright.'
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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
This review is from: Stonemouth (Paperback)
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
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This review is from: Stonemouth (Kindle Edition)
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 Farming and Fishing don't mix, 26 Jun 2013
By 
Dave (Holmfirth, Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Stonemouth (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Banks, 13 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Stonemouth (Kindle Edition)
This is slightly blokey in parts – men's war toys stuff, and male gorilla stuff – but I'm giving it five stars as the quality of writing merits it, and at the end of the day the book is actually a love story and as such does have its 'aaaah!' moment. Banks' vivid imagination is always evident, not just in his sci-fi books, and this one carries you along with its action and its characters – many of whom you feel you know. Banks had (really sad to have to use the past tense here) the ability to make his books almost more realistic than real life, chiming with the experiences of so many people. This was evident by the outpourings on the news of his illness, and then his death. His writing engages his readers, many of whom felt they had become personal friends of the author. He took us places, he showed us things. Difficult to believe that has come to an end. Stonemouth is perhaps not his best book, but it is still an extremely well written book and very good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Non-Sci Fi Iain Banks, 8 Feb 2013
By 
Mr. A. Hardie (West Cornwall) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stonemouth (Paperback)
I am someone who has read all Mr Banks' books starting way back with The Wasp Factory - I always enjoy his SF novels but am a bit less enthusiastic about his other works - some are much better than others. Stonemouth is one of his better efforts, up there with The Crow Road and Whit in my opinion. Good plotting, characters you can really care about, acute observation of social and technological mores and, as ever with Mr Banks, a bit of nasty stuff. Recommended.
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Stonemouth
Stonemouth by Iain Banks (Paperback - 3 Jan 2013)
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