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55 of 58 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 19 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 17 months ago by J. Hyde


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55 of 58 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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18 of 19 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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2 of 2 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
5.0 out of 5 stars poignant sign-off, 5 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: The Quarry (Kindle Edition)
I fell in love with the novels of Iain Banks a few pages into The Crow Road many years ago and I've enjoyed every one since.
Given the author's impending death and the subject matter, this could have been a self-pityingly maudlin read. But handled with wit and almost unnerving honesty it is story which lays bare the selfish motivations of a group of old friends. Even our hero and narrator Kit, is not blemish-free.
Banks's sharp pen strips each character to the bone and leaves us remarkably with hope. A great funny, moving read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book, 15 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: The Quarry (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book. As usual with Iain Banks, the characters were full, rounded and real, and at varying shades of grey on endearing to irritating scale. There was not a caricature in sight and I could empathise with each of them, so much so that the plot (such as it was) mattered little. The book showed, through conflicting values and a shared youth that, on many levels, promised more than it actually delivered (doesn't everyone's?), the ties that bound each to the others. It was that sense of transcending love that provided both the sad and the optimistic taste I was left with after I had turned the final pages.
It was a clever move to tell the tale mainly through the eyes of an autistic young man, and I can only imagine and admire the honest way his father and the main character, Guy, was painted. It avoided sentimentality but the anger, bitterness, sadness and joy in existence still shone through, and with only a hint of self pity. It must have been both difficult and illuminating for the author to explore his emotions and, most notably, the reasons why he could not end his life before that greater force was ready to take it.

I am full of admiration, it was a fitting epitaph to an original and highly creative mind. He will be sadly missed.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neither Trite, nor Slight, 30 Jun. 2013
By 
Adam Cunningham (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Quarry (Hardcover)
Eighteen year old Kit and his terminally ill father, Guy, live in Yorkshire, next to a giant metaphor. Their home is built almost on top of the local quarry which will, by arrangement between Guy and the quarry owners, literally consume the house and its grounds once cancer has consumed Guy. What will the son do when his father and his home are gone?

As well as being Guy's primary carer, Kit has some problems of his own - not the least of which is not knowing the identity of his mother. On top of all this, Kit, who struggles in social situations (to put things mildly) is having to deal with an influx of Guy's old house-mates from university days. From the start, it's pretty clear this isn't just a tearful farewell visit. As always with Banks, underneath the banter there lurks the potential for things to get very messy, very quickly.

Followers of Banks will recognise a fair few of the author's recurring motifs: big rambling houses, posh people behaving badly, political comment, interesting bits of technology, fractious family relationships. But not all of the Banksisms are on show. For one thing, the story's structure is much less complicated than in, say, 'Use of Weapons'. For another thing... well, why not read the book and find out?

The apparent simplicity of 'The Quarry' might lead you to believe it's a sub-standard work. It isn't. In its exploration of the fractured relationship between an isolated, outsider child and his eccentric, willfully obtuse father, 'The Quarry' echoes 'The Wasp Factory', the book which hurled Banks towards literary mega-stardom in 1984. Of the two books, 'The Wasp Factory' has the horror, the pace and the spectacle. 'The Quarry' has maturity and a poignant humanity.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Bitterly disappointing, 13 Oct. 2014
By 
Peter Lee (Manchester ,United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Quarry (Kindle Edition)
I'm sorry to say that Iain Banks's final novel was for me one of his most disappointing. The story focuses on Kit, who lives with his father in a house close to the edge of a huge quarry. Kit's father is dying of cancer, and before he goes a number of his old friends from university visit in order to find out what happened with a video tape they filmed back in the day. Kit's father tells them it has been destroyed, but has it? The friends stick around, everyone bickers, and the book rumbles on for 385 pages.

I loved Banks's "ensemble" novels such as "The Crow Road" and "The Steep Approach to Garbadale", where he worked with large casts of characters, but "The Quarry" just didn't work for me, and none of the characters were likeable in any way. I really wanted to enjoy this book, for it to be a grand hurrah of a novel for Banks, but sadly I found it tedious and frustrating. Far from his finest, and such a shame he died soon after finishing this book. The most disappointing book I've read in 2014 unfortunately.
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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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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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The Quarry
The Quarry by Iain Banks
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