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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Layers and parallelism of influence tantalize the reader
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...
Published 7 months ago by 2theD

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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ...but you might enjoy it more
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...
Published on 29 Aug 2003 by Thomas Douglas


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars strange, unreal, phantastic!, 16 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Walking On Glass (Paperback)
This book begins as three completely separate short stories, one of which seems quite out of place in one of Banks' non-science fiction novels; the other two are set in a more familiar setting, yet sometimes you begin to suspect the (very fine) link between the stories. A book about reality, or what we take for it. Finely crafted Banks quality.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Confusing but fascinating if sombre, 17 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Walking on Glass (Kindle Edition)
One of his best works. An elaborately interwoven tale in several layers . Full of insight and observation with a lot of humour but ultimately bleak.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Walking on Glass (Kindle Edition)
Good read
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever and surreal, 13 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Walking On Glass (Paperback)
Quirkily believable characters are one of Iain Banks' hallmarks, but here it is the intertwining of entirely incongruous plots that strikes me as particularly original and stimulating. One of his best novels - and certainly the most surreal - Walking On Glass may take a few readings to appreciate fully.
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of human weakness; our fleshy souls., 6 Jan 2003
By 
Daniel Dalton - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Walking On Glass (Paperback)
This is a grabbing book for a number of reasons. Three stories, linked more by philosophy, and by the degree to which they represent the capacity for self deception, rather than by any intrinsic aspect of the plot(s), hang rather incongruously, but not to the detriment of the reality we are cast in.
The rare immediacy, and proximity, of the stories is framed in a vivd description of London, remarkably evokative for east end residents, and knowingly clever by its subtlety (although perhaps diminished by recent street refurbiushments and building.) Further realised in a naive and credulous, third person, account of the stories, this supends disbelief and places the whole in the realms of believability.
The three stories perhaps represent three levels of psychopathology avaliable to all of us in our vulnerable moments. The first is of a man caught in love's optimistic miasma; the second is of one struck by florid psychosis, this the highlight for its compassionate and objective perspective of a, presumably schizophrenic, man, and its witty insights into our capacity to find the invisible and paint it real; the last of a couple seemingly trapped in senile romance.
The knowing, and literary, events portrayed, in each character's story, are poignant and lasting reminders of our frailty. The concrete reality seems to haunt one in every passing estate agents, or lonely pub, or bored weekend of navel gazing.
fantastic
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?, 1 Feb 2007
By 
Deanne Dixon "deanne9499" (Sunny South Shields) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Walking On Glass (Paperback)
I decided to take the "morning-after-the-night-before" approach with this review, generally because I thought, having slept on it, I would gain some clarity on this book. I have, and, well I haven't...

The book is basically split into three parts. The first story is based around a second-year art student called Graham. Introduced to a girl called Sara at a party, he falls in love with her. The rest of his story seems to focus upon the next six months of their rather "shaky" relationship, leading up to the typical (i.e. shocking) Banksian climax. The second story revolves around Steven Grout, a man who is deeply paranoid and feels that everyone is out to get him. Thirdly, we have the Kafkaesque story of Quiss, an old man, trapped in a castle, forced to play impossible games for the chance to solve a riddle and therefore win his freedom.

I came to this book off the back of "The Wasp Factory" and "Complicity", two books which I enjoyed immensely precisely because we can relate to the characters in the story. Although in both of these books, the twists are shocking, to some extent at least, they are justifiable given what has come before. I won't spoil "Walking on Glass" for those of you who haven't read it but the sexual twist at the end of Graham's story will leave you feeling a bit cheated. I suspect (as other reviewers have pointed out before me) that a second reading would help you see the clues that reveal how Graham's story ended, but that doesn't detract from the fact it was done for shock value, something we have seen performed much more effectively in his other books.

For those of you who have seen "Wes Craven's New Nightmare" (the last of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise) you will see the somewhat existentialistic ending of Quiss' story coming a mile off. For those of you who expect there to be a climatic collision between the three stories at the end of the book, you will be disappointed - blink, and you will miss the connection between the three. For those of you wanting some sort of closure in a book, look elsewhere, this story inevitably leaves you with far more questions than answers.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can someone please explain?, 2 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Walking On Glass (Paperback)
Two out of 3 of these stories are brilliant - with the usual Banks twist in the tale (and ouch, did it twist!). But sorry to be a dummy, I really couldn't figure out the 3rd weird sci-fi on. I tried - honest! Answers on a postcard please!
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Walking on Glass, 31 Oct 2010
This review is from: Walking on Glass (Hardcover)
Book listed as in good condition. Arrived with a front sheet torn out, green pen on spine ... generally very poor condition. Misleading description.
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3 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What is the Point of it, 26 Sep 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Walking On Glass (Paperback)
I've read a lot of the Ian Banks novels, most of witch are the kind of story's you can't put down, but I had trouble keeping an interest in this one. I could not see any particular relation between the three and they would have done better as three short story's. The only one with any humour in it was the second the other two being dead on arrival, their was none of the whit of the 'Wasp factory' or 'Whit' could be time to look for a new disillusioned Scottish writer.
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1 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't get any better the 2nd time., 21 Sep 2010
By 
This review is from: Walking on Glass (Paperback)
Ok, I've raved about the Wasp Factory for years, and off the back of that I bought Walking On Glass", when it was first published. I found it again, recently, with a bookmark halfway through, and I decided to give it another go from the beginning.
I vaguely remembered being underwhelmed by it at the time, but I'm a lot older now, and thought that that might make a difference.

My review is simple: I found it impossible to read. The story of the paranoid schizophrenic was reasonable, but not in itself particularly interesting or well-written. As a former Psychi nurse, I would never dream of using the peculiarities of the mentally ill as the basis for a novel.

The hapless Graham was just that. Yawn. His mate, the one having violent sex with his own sister, was hardly the twist at the end of the story to make the previous 239 pages worth the effort. So what that he missed the show down at the end due to his fuel being sugared?

The science fiction stuff; well I didn't even bother with that.

This book is a mess. It's not brilliantly written, or gripping, or quirky. Nor is it worth trying to understand. It's not going back in the bookcase, it's going in the bin.
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Walking On Glass
Walking On Glass by Iain Banks (Paperback - 7 Feb 2013)
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