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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It was the day my grandmother exploded.
Prentice is a 22-year-old student in Glasgow, just back to his own little town of Gallanach for his grandmother's funeral. It's mostly through his eyes that we're introduced to the McHoan's family, as well as all the other funny characters that people this book. It can maybe take a while in the beginning not to get lost among all their names, not to speak about the many...
Published on 11 May 2010 by Alessandra F.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crow Road
Nice wee twist at the end, though I had suspected it for a while through the book. Iain Banks is not for the faint hearted though, but this first novel certainly rattles on apace to a suitable ending.
Published 15 months ago by DerekO


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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars didn't really float my boat, 11 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The Crow Road (Kindle Edition)
This is the stroy of Prentice and the mystery surrounding his home village and his uncle Rory. It's the first Iain Banks novel i've ever read, and i have to say it wasn't really my thing. I've seen the bbc adaptation, and thought the story was great, but the book was a bit dull and the characters didn't really leap off the page or make me care about them. It is a very good yarn though, and if you can get past how annoying and petulant Prentice is at times, it's worth a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 18 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Crow Road (Kindle Edition)
Too many characters with too little, if any, character and too little going on to capture this reader. Became completely bored one quarter of the way through and gave up, in spite of being an avid, intelligent and serious lover of good literature, this left me completely cold.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it, 3 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Crow Road (Kindle Edition)
I have to admit to going through the emotions with this book. Not because the story is heart wrenching, but due to the manner in which the story is presented. I started the book with an element of excitement, before getting about a third of the way through before wondering what the point of the story was. Nothing appeared to have happened, but then the 'main' story thread appeared - a disappearance - and I began to read on with a new sense of anticipation. This wavered as the book progressed, but was then reignited as the mystery element was resolved, but then what remained of the book (approximately 50 pages) ambled along to nothingness again.

Various reviews have mentioned the narration mechanism (if I can call it that), the story jumps around from present day (1990(ish)) to when the main narrators father was a child. The narrator also changes, with the story switching from the first person to the third person - all of which can be very confusing if you are not paying attention. Although this mechanism did enable the pace to be maintained and also plays a key role in making you think about the work you are reading (I won't spoil it, or attempt to show my ignorance by publishing what I thought!)

Overall I am glad I stuck with this book as the resolution, and point being made by the author, were interesting. I do agree with other reviews that this book was about 200 pages too long - the sections detailing the geological history of Scotland or the mechanism for transferring data from those old floppy disks which were the size of a DVD box to a 'modern day' computer added nothing to the story and often read like they had been copied directly out of an encyclopaedia - the editor should have been harsher.

Basically stick with it. Although if this is 'Banks finest novel' as the quote on the front of my copy proudly boasts, I don't think I will be rushing out to read anymore of his work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 15 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: The Crow Road (Kindle Edition)
It is an epic story about a family, covering 3 or more generations, through flashbacks from a guy who is a young man in the 1970s. The characters are all well drawn and intriging. I was an adult in the 1970s and can remember all the events to which he refers. Any younger readers might find this difficult, because references to current events are part of nearly all the conversations that occur. Does speaking in "Clanger" mean anything to you? Well I can remember what that was about, so I'm enjoying the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sex, drugs, murder and wit - Banks at his best, 20 Nov. 2009
By 
Mr. T. Winward (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Crow Road (Paperback)
The first of Banks' mainstream novels that I have read - taking a break from his science fiction works which I thoroughly enjoy - I had high expectations, having it been recommended to me by friends and teachers. I was not disappointed - I simply could not put it down. Suitably dark and gritty in places, the novel explores the main character's experiences with death, love and drugs throughout his life, yet featuring enough of Banks' intelligent humour to sway it from a different track to the gothic 'The Wasp Factory.'

Wonderfully real characters make this a rollercoaster of emotions, and one which I had no desire to clamber off until I'd read every word and felt every turn. Although the plot seems slow initially, the depth and history of the characters are convincing and fascinating enough to draw the reader in and keep them fixed as the story slowly unwinds ingeniously around them. A genuinely engaging mystery story holds the framework of this novel, interwoven with relationships and events that keep it dynamic and flowing, until the climax.

Fantastically emotive language conjure a realistic atmosphere and thought-provoking, underlying themes do not fail to leave the novel unremembered and unimpressive - definitely one of my favourites. Highly enjoyable and highly recommended - Banks at his best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The metaphorical road to maturity, 20 May 2011
This review is from: The Crow Road (Paperback)
This is the first non-sf novel of Iain Banks that I have read. Well, it was certainly different from what I was used to.

This story is about a family and its confusingly complex history. The McHoan's family is a Scottish kind of noble family, and we follow it through the 1940's to the 1990's. We read and experience its stories of sex, booze, deaths and etcetera.

More specifically, the reader impersonates Prentice McHoan, most times, and gets to know the family much by his eyes. However, the story's time is always skipping up and down the scale and because of that the reader understands much of the "present events", even if those time jumps confuse everything.

The book encompasses three closely connected stories. Prentice's father. Prentice's uncle. And Prentice's other uncle. As you can see Prentice (and his life) is the main subject.

It's hard to spot novels like this nowadays (not impossible, though) and has quite a residue of epicness to it. I enjoyed it very much and explores the story possibilities thoroughly which leaves you satisfied.

By the way, the title of book means literally to die, and it's also very important for the advancement of the novel.

Recommend it.

Till next time,
M.I.T.H. (ManInsideTheHelm)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Banks classic, 20 Jun. 2014
By 
Patrick Neylan "Patrick Neylan" (Orpington, Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Crow Road (Paperback)
Iain Banks occasionally dashed off fun but slight novels (Canal Dreams springs to mind), but The Crow Road is a monumentally great book. Once you've got past the fractured time structure, as the childhoods of Prentice and his father are intertwined and a complex cast of characters are expertly introduced, The Crow Road expands into a literary masterpiece drawing together the themes of growing up, family ties, mystery, romance and possibly murder.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an enjoyable read, 3 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The Crow Road (Kindle Edition)
Only Iain Banks novel I have read (I have read some Iain M Banks), it was a good read. The characters were strong and memorable and as a person who has not seen much of Scotland it made me want to visit. There were quite a few things that I could pick on as weak aspects of the book, pacing and that once the ending was self evident it then took a long time to get there. There are other things but overall I enjoyed the book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best first line ever., 9 Jun. 2013
This review is from: The Crow Road (Paperback)
RIP Iain Banks. You are my favourite author, of contemporary and science fiction. The Crow Road has the ultimate first line of any book I have ever read, and the Wasp Factory should come with the last line sealed in an envelope to stop anyone from peeking. Against a Dark Background is just stunning and now we will just have to imagine what the Culture is getting up to.

Not everything you wrote was perfect, and I only have a few of your books left to read. Now I need to find someone who can explain The Bridge to me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding!, 3 Sept. 2013
By 
wesley graham (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Crow Road (Paperback)
Story really holds one's attention from beginning to end of the book! One of the best buys I have ever read.
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The Crow Road
The Crow Road by Iain Banks
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