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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very personal novel.
The Quarry is about a gathering of former university housemates who come together for a long weekend in the house they shared while at college. The house is the family home of one of the group, Guy, who is dying of cancer and he has asked them to come together one last time while he is still alive.

The characters in this book came to life for me. I got to know...
Published 14 months ago by P. McCLEAN

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Quarry
Dealing with such a subject is excellent though the writing style is somewhat lightweight compared to previous books I've read, which at times were disturbing in their depth of feeling. The finding of the item they were searching of was a bit lame as it was purported to be 1 thing but then was something else - was that it?! Having found it was there something else to...
Published 12 months ago by J. Hyde


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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very personal novel., 26 Jun 2013
By 
P. McCLEAN (Dublin) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Quarry (Hardcover)
The Quarry is about a gathering of former university housemates who come together for a long weekend in the house they shared while at college. The house is the family home of one of the group, Guy, who is dying of cancer and he has asked them to come together one last time while he is still alive.

The characters in this book came to life for me. I got to know their views and their foibles. Their actions and conversation were consistent throughout the book and the interactions with the others were totally believable. I felt I was with the group for that long weekend in the North East of England.

When I find interesting pieces in a book I take note of the page number for future reference. I found many such pieces in The Quarry.

In an interview with Stuart Kelly that was printed in the Guardian on 15th June, 2013, just six days after Iain Banks' death, Iain is quoted as saying, "let's face it; in the end the real best way to sign off would have been with a great big rollicking Culture novel." He was still very proud of "The Quarry", and rightly so.

While Iain referred to the book as a "relatively minor piece" it is still an excellent novel and those readers who are familiar with Iain's views on the world, the universe and everything, will recognize many of his firmly held beliefs expressed in the words of Guy. Religion, politics, corruption, racism, violence and corporate exploitation of the poor all come in for mention in what could be described as a manifesto of Iain's views.

As an avid reader of Iain Banks and Iain M. Banks books for over twenty-five years, and as someone who has become familiar with the author's views on a wide range of social matters, I found "The Quarry" felt like a presentation of many of the things Iain felt were wrong with the world and with the human race, and the many ways in which people are cruel to people for no valid reasons whatsoever. These would be things that Guy would describe as "f**kwittery and bo**ockry".

Guy has a major rant starting on page 292 which is all the more poignant when you know it was written immediately after Iain had received the news that he had cancer and that he only had months to live, just over three months as it turned out. At that stage he only had ten thousand words left to write to finish the novel.

I found this book to be a very apt parting shot by Iain Banks. It strikes me as a personal statement from him and it is a novel I will come back to many times as I feel it is the most personal novel he wrote.

Thank you Iain for a wonderful body of literary work and for all the words of wisdom you have passed on at every opportunity.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars as ever drawn in, 6 July 2013
By 
Gareth Timms "GAT" (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Quarry (Hardcover)
Just finished The Quarry and unable to start another book so instead will comment on this. I have read both Iain Banks and Iain M Banks books since the publication of the Wasp Factory in the 1980s. So coming to this book was sad knowing it was the last and knowing the topic was close to what was happening to him. If he had not been fatally ill would we all have been thinking of this as a book about a young man with Aspergers? How much did news of young hackers with autism or the financial abuse of Scottish Artist Peter Howson influence the original idea. These have all been strong media stories in Scotland over the last few years as have issues about personal care and end of life decisions.

However this was a book I found hard to put down. I found it both sad & funny but also enlightening. I rarely comment on books being keen instead to dive into the next one. This is a book however I do not want to taint with the taste of other books. Enjoyed the book and will misss the author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Quarry, 18 Aug 2013
By 
J. Hyde "Jay" (Republic of Mancunia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Quarry (Kindle Edition)
Dealing with such a subject is excellent though the writing style is somewhat lightweight compared to previous books I've read, which at times were disturbing in their depth of feeling. The finding of the item they were searching of was a bit lame as it was purported to be 1 thing but then was something else - was that it?! Having found it was there something else to find. I thought the cancer could have been dealt with more thoroughly & not just the abusiveness of it's incumbent. I thought I'd learn something but didn't. A bit like Corrie - a good storyline that fizzled to not much. Maybe he didn't have time to go too in-depth given his own circumstances so compare to his other excellenty works I was somewhat disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 10 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Quarry (Kindle Edition)
Not a great swan song, sadly.
I'm a great Banks fan, of both his Sci Fi and "straight" fiction, but unfortunately this one is below his usual standard. There are some quite nice rants and conversational exchanges, but the whole thing is a bit lacklustre and rather fizzles out at the end.
I like the narrator, and enjoy the quirk of making him Aspergers. I have a son with Aspergers and the thought processes and comments are pretty accurate.
The plot is thin, and doesn't allow even a writer of Banks' skill to develop lines and characters in any very satisfactory way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting finale....., 11 Aug 2014
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Quarry (Paperback)
Iain Banks produces such lively and intriguing books - it is hard to believe that after The Quarry there will be no more…..
The Quarry is a thoroughly enjoyable novel. Kit is an autistic teenage living with his father Guy who is dying of cancer. They inhabit a ramshackle house due for demolition which is perched on the edge of a quarry somewhere in north-east England. A group of old student friends has gathered for the weekend to see Guy once again and to reminisce about their old times together.

But as well as saying “farewell” to Guy each member of the group is anxious to recover an old lost video recording made by the group during their film and media studies course. Kit asks about this mysterious tape but is assured it is “not porn” but could just cause embarrassment to each of them in their current careers. It all moves at a good pace as the group intersperse hunting for the tape with bitching about each other and taking drugs.

Kit comes over as an extremely likeable young man who wants to know more about his origins. He is badly let down by his bad-tempered father and by members of the group that he thought he could trust. Guy is constantly angry about both his own condition and the world in general. There are numerous “riffs” on politics, religion and modern culture which probably reflect Banks’s own feelings.

The Quarry is written with great energy and imagination. Perhaps not his best work but a fitting finale nonetheless.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quarry = Excavation for stone or suchlike OR object of pursuit, 31 July 2014
By 
Dangerous Dave (Berkhamsted, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Quarry (Kindle Edition)
When anyone asks 18 years old autistic Kit, the narrator of this novel, how his father, Guy is, he says "He's dying". And he is. Dying, that is. Of cancer. I found faint echoes of "Wasp Factory" Frank (and father) in Kit and Guy. Maybe I'm imagining this. If such resonances are there it could hardly be deliberate closing of the circle since Banks didn't become aware of his terminal cancer until he'd written most of the book. But his death certainly brings a heightened level of poignancy to the relationship between Guy and the world, and particularly, between Guy and Kit.

Such plot as there is, and there's not a lot, revolves round the visit of six university friends of Guy. The get-together is prompted by a perceived need to find a missing and potentially embarrassing video tape. There's a sub-plot about Kit searching for his mother but that's about it, plotwise. The quarry of the title is on the land adjoining Guy's property and the company owning it have purchased Guy's land and will soon be taking possession in order to extend the mining operation. Hence the urgency for the tape search.

Not a lot happens and one or two other reviewers have commented that, in their view, the book went a little flat after the initial set-up. That is something that I've felt has occurred in a few of Banks' other novels. I'd hasten to add that by "few", I mean a couple or so where I got the feeling that he had lost interest and his mind was already on to another project. Ironically I had less of that feeling this time. Maybe I had lower expectations or maybe I was satisfied by the verbal sparring which formed much of the book.

Guy is particularly scabrous about the state of the nation. But, while many of the views expressed by him are familiar from other Iain Banks books, to view him as the Banks surrogate is too simplistic. I'm sure there are traces of Iain in Kit as well from the way that he seems able to get under the lad's skin at will - he seems to relish identifying with the autistic condition and uses it to comment on British social mores with considerable humour. The shadowy Miss Willoughby, Kit's therapist / counsellor, remains off-stage throughout. She's so intriguing that, as the novel progressed I was hoping that Banks would allow her a brief walk-on role at the very least.

Apologies if the above sounds rather negative. I enjoyed reading it and will miss very much the appearance of a new Iain Banks novel every couple of years or so. For me he has always been in that small grouping of absolute must-read British authors and, notwithstanding, my remarks above, I have found something to interest and entertain me in every one of his books, current one included. That it doesn't achieve the stone classic level of, say, "The Crow Road" or, "The Bridge", doesn't matter. We should be treasuring (and re-reading) all of his rich and varied legacy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good story from Iain, maybe a little melancholy, or maybe that was the mood I was in, 5 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Quarry (Hardcover)
The Quarry by Iain Banks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read all the books by Iain Banks, and actually took quite a long time to get round to reading the Quarry. I think of reading this last book, but I finished it in March 2014.

It was with a great deal of sadness that I finally read this book, and the book with its tale of a house destined to fall into a Quarry, was a sad tale which perfectly suited my mood.

It's the story of a reunion of friends who ten or so years after university meet up on the occasion of a funeral, but also to discuss a 'mistake' in this case a video tape they made at Uni, and which most of them now want to destroy.

I won't say much about the story is told from the point of view of Kit who is a teenager with some mild learning difficulty. But this is a good story from Iain, maybe a little melancholy, or maybe that was the mood i read it in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I REALLY HATE TO BE CRITICAL OF THIS NOVEL, 12 July 2014
This review is from: The Quarry (Hardcover)
I really hate to be critical of this novel, bearing in mind the circumstances in which it was written. I found many parts tedious, and I did find it struggle to finish, the reading of it seemed to take an eternity. The twin plots of tape and mother seemed to fizzle out, and reach no positive conclusion. I always hate being critical of a gifted novelist such as Iain Banks, the saying 'those that can do, those that can't become critics ,but although the writing was good, the characters were all rather flat, and the storyline did not move fast enough.
The abiding memory ids Iain Banks writing about Guy, and his gradual decline, and death. The other good part of the novel was Kit as the autistic teenager worked very well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 24 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Quarry (Kindle Edition)
Sad that this was Iain Banks' last novel. I have enjoyed most of his 'straight' novels (tried one of the SF stories but it was not to my taste) but this one I found had an extremely thin plot and most of the characters seemed indistinguishable and rather unpleasant. Putting the central character, Kit, on the autistic scale added interest to his internal dialogue but had no perceptible impact on the outcome of events. The sub plot of the relationship between Kit and Holly was more interesting than the main thrust - the search for the tape.

I'm with the comments of the reviewers who have awarded one and two stars except that there are some really awful books out there. This isn't that bad so I'll give it three.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Last Novel, 11 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Quarry (Paperback)
Firstly, if you have been a fan of Iain Banks (with and without the 'M' respectively) you may feel exactly what I felt when you read the last chapter of The Quarry, close the book and place it back on the shelf. For me it was a truly sorrowful moment. I placed it back next my other Banks' books, and re-read the spines of each and every one in turn, promising to go back to The Wasp Factory and start the collection again. That this was his final novel, and now he's sadly passed, seems fitting due to the subject matter alone. But it's an experience i doubt fans of his will not forget for a while...

I bought this on the day it came out. The news, just weeks earlier, with a dark streak of humour running through his message to us, was that Iain Banks was 'officially very poorly'. I bought it with, I suppose, the usual excitement of the thought of a new work by him.... But both I and the store assistant shared a knowing look... This would be the last time that particular sense of excitement hit us. The work was about to lose a stunning voice. I returned home and put it on the shelf.... I'd normally devour it, hammer it out in one sitting, greedily absorb each page, each word. Strangely not this time though.

It sat on the shelf for weeks. I wanted, this time, to pace it out. Not rush, not dive in. I wanted to gradually savour the book. Trust me it's worth it.

And it's probably worth pointing out that this is far from his best work. But the personal connection it makes (impossible to ignore, circumstances given) is staggering. The writing is, as ever, flawless. The characters, wonderful. The plot, some may say is slow and meandering, but the overall emotive experience it shares it unlike any book I've read before.

There is bias here, true. And I'm sure I'm not the first person to wax lyrical about how Banks' book connect. I suppose the nature of the book, and the way in which the author left us, merge. For that alone, I can't imagine another book leaving me feeling quite so satisfied, yet altogether down. It haunted me for days.

Perhaps my generation, thankfully, haven't experienced our heroes and idols leave us.... But in Banks', I know I've shared an author with others touched by the same vigour, humour, style and verve. The quarry, again, is a fitting end to that giddy excitement of awaiting the next Banks' novel.

And so, The Wasp Factory is next for me.... With its dog eared pages, cracked spine and ruffled chapters. Then the Bridge, then Walking on Glass, then.... All of them, again.

RIP
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The Quarry
The Quarry by Iain Banks (Hardcover - 20 Jun 2013)
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