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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dream a Little Dream
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. "Canal Dreams" is his fifth non sci-fi book and was first...
Published on 1 May 2006 by Craobh Rua

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Awkward thriller
Canal Dreams concerns a cello player scared of flying, who during a trip through the Panama Canal unwittingly ends up caught between revolutionaries and American special forces operatives. The basic scenario of this thriller is a good one, and the plight of the hostages stranded in the Panama Canal should result in a tense novel, but for some reason Canal Dreams never...
Published on 3 Nov 2005 by Jane Aland


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half-Dead, 31 May 2008
This review is from: Canal Dreams (Paperback)
Banks churns out another novel. The story chugs along.

It seemed that all the components were there. An interesting main character (a tough female japanese cellist), a ship stuck in the middle of a war-zone, a multi-cultural crew as well as a few other bits (which you'll discover if you read the story). However, the story never really took off. There were plenty of opportunities for Banks to develop some of his ideas, but apart from the protagonist, it all seemed a bit flat. Not quite one-dimensional, but more like this book was a rough draft that was going to have the details filled in later.

I've said this before about Iain Banks, and that is, it's OK (i.e. 3 stars), but don't expect more than a half-dead read.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read, but short, 16 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Canal Dreams (Paperback)
Banks' usual strange story-twists get cut a little short in this novel, however the characterization of Onada Hisako is superb, and the story does end with a bang! If you have a few hours flight or train ride before you, be sure to pack it in and read it in one go.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed, 8 Mar 2011
This review is from: Canal Dreams (Paperback)
My first Iain Banks. He has a strong reputation, presumably based on his other books.
Scene setting - dull
Dream scenes - dull and irrelevant
Characters - sketchy and unengaging, don't seemed to have engaged the author much either as he wipes them out with hardly a comment.
Plot - not great, the twist is predictable
Even the violence towrds the end was cursory and hard to believe, a cellist wearing a Rambo bandanna firing a SAM missile and the final scenes remind me of a Frederick Forsyth I read year's ago
Not worth buying, not worth borrowing either.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Iain Banks, 9 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Canal Dreams (Paperback)
One of the last three Banks novels required to complete my set. It arrived promptly and now I must drop everything and read it.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich in depth of character..., 25 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Canal Dreams (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book, its main character draws on a number of emotions, and is portrayed in depth.
Some great twist made this an interesting read, only my second Iain Banks novel, but I recommend it.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Banks writes a lefty version of "Rambo", 27 July 2006
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Mr. Jonathan Headland (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Canal Dreams (Paperback)
What was Banks thinking of when he cobbled together this adventure story (as it becomes in the finale)? A low-quality novel, where we're asked to beleive in a one-woman attack force taking out a platoon of guerillas who Banks has allowed to justify their own s through their brutality earlier. The scenario created lacks interest and depth, since we are not permitted to like the protagonista's opponents.

By the way, did anyone mention that she's a world-class cellist? Perhaps we could believe that she has good martial arts skills, but where does her ability with a heavy machine gun come from? What about the missile launcher? At least John Rambo was supposed to've been a soldier.

Disappointing. Is there supposed to some kind of political point? He goes on a lot about Panama's history, but who knows? Did he think that being politically-correct would save the book? It doesn't.
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Canal Dreams
Canal Dreams by Iain Banks (Paperback - 19 July 1990)
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