3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This one requires a lot of thought, but it's worth it!,
This review is from: Walking On Glass (Paperback)
Walking on Glass is Iain Banks' second novel and, whilst being enjoyable, requires a lot of thought on the part of the reader to make it enjoyable, and to allow the "twists" at the end of the story make sense.
Primarily, the reader follows Graham, a young man in love with an enigmatic woman named Sara, whom the story follows as he walks through London, the story being told in flashbacks. Secondly, Steven Grout, a paranoid man believing he is trapped in this world by "Tormentors" who are out to get him. Finally, the third protaganist is an old man named Quiss, who is trapped in a fascinating, mysterious castle. Quiss must play impossible games to escape the castle by answering a riddle, which he has a crack at following each game.
The real beauty of the story is the way the three protaginists stories become intertwined at the end; whilst some aspects of this are very obvious, Bank's also provides the reader with very, very subtle hints at the "reality" facing the three protaginists - I will stop here, so as not to ruin the story for readers; just be sure to pay attention! What I enjoyed was also the factor that frustrated me the most; the degree to which the three characters are linked depends entirely on the perception of the reader, and how much said reader wants to read into the story.
The sole reason that I have given Walking on Glass four stars rather than five is because the story exists solely to provide a backdrop to the ending, with the exception possibly of Quiss, the third protaginist's story. However, given that the book isn't overly long, and that the ending is truly outstanding, I would thoroughly recommend Walking on Glass. Also, it has re-read value, as you will be tempted to read it again, to see if you can pick more clues out of the stories.
Altogether, Walking on Glass is a fantastic read, partially made weighty by the banality of some aspects of the story, but not enough to stop this being a great read, with a shocking ending. I would recommend it to both science fiction fans, but also to people who are interested in the more philosophical aspect of the story. Also, people who enjoyed Iain Banks' first novel, The Wasp Factory, will also enjoy this.
Thanks for reading!