92 of 103 people found the following review helpful
A novel of great ideas,
This review is from: Transition (Hardcover)Iain Banks has devised a typically complex work of fiction, one which the narrator starts by introducing himself as an 'unreliable narrator' and which switches narrative voice frequently, presenting the development of the plot from different angles, yet not always filling in the gaps between them until the climax when the novel develops a clearer form.
Banks boldly moves away from the beautiful accounts of Scottish landscapes and the warm character led drama of works such as The Crow Road, Whit and The Steep Approach to Garbadale(three of my favourite novels) to a novel of ideas that is more similar to his science-fiction work. His characters have the special ability to travel through a series of worlds by taking a drug. However their travels are policed by a mysterious organisation, The Concern, whose rule under Madame d'Otrtolan, is far from benevolent. Different sections of the novel are narrated by a range of characters including a patient in a strange hospital, a greedy capitalist trader and a torturer. As Banks moves from world to world his descriptions of lavish parties and claustrophobic hospitals are detailed and evocative. The ending is tense and exciting. Yet in the development of the story, the rapid changes of perspective often become frustrating and confusing dissipating the momentum of the plot.
This is an ambitious and challenging novel but one which I did not enjoy as much as others by the writer.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Sep 2009 12:07:56 BDT
I note that this review is dated before the publication date. I can't help being suspicious about it therefore. I hope it simply means that some supplier sold it early.
In reply to an earlier post on 17 Sep 2009 13:24:16 BDT
T. Howard says:
Presumably the reviewer obtained an advance copy.
Posted on 24 Apr 2010 21:04:34 BDT
Yet another review that tries (not very well) to tell the story in a nutshell and spoils it for potential future readers...
Thanks for telling me that madame d'Otrtolan is the baddy, that makes the book less interesting to read - although I'm sure her name is spelled in another way. I believe this is called a Spoiler??
In reply to an earlier post on 7 Nov 2010 22:20:08 GMT
Sam Woodward says:
Only if you think being told Darth Vader is the villain in the first Star Wars is a spoiler.
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