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Canal Dreams by [Banks, Iain]
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Canal Dreams Kindle Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Length: 292 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

* 'Apocalyptic is the first word that springs to mind to describe this violent and powerful novel in which Banks once again demonstrates his extraordinary dark powers of imagination . . . impressive (THE TIMES)

Banks has a powerful literary presence, convincingly marrying fantasy and reality, Bond-like bravado and a weightier, more sadistic sense of human evil - FINANCIAL TIMES (Short, compact and brilliantly crafted. - THE SCOTSMAN)

Canal Dreams is a terse and fluid novel...you turn the pages with simultaneous revulsion and fascination. - THE LIST

Book Description

* Paperback reissue of Iain Banks' CANAL DREAMS - 'extraordinary, brilliant, bloody' (Fay Weldon)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1519 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; 1st edition (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002TXZRD6
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #235,817 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Iain Banks first novel, The Wasp Factory, was published in 1984. In the years since, he's won critical acclaim, topped best-seller lists and has even written Science Fiction books under the cunning nom-de-plume 'Iain M. Banks'. He's also seen this book, "The Crow Road", adapted for television by the BBC in 1996. "Canal Dreams" is his fifth non sci-fi book and was first published in 1989.

The book's central character is Hisako Onoda, a world-famous cellist. As the book opens, Hisako is en-route from Japan to Europe, where she's due to perform in a series of concerts. However, as she's terrified of flying, she's making the journey by boat. Having travelled to Honolulu on the Gassam Maru, she then boarded the Nakodo - which was due to take her to Rotterdam via the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, due to `civil unrest' in the region - armed conflict between guerrilla fighters and government forces - the canal has been closed. Fro the moment, the Nakodo and two other ships are essentially trapped on Gat�n Lake. Although they are hoping for the all-clear to continue their journey soon, the conflict I, unfortunately, coming closer.

There are elements of a thriller to "Canal Dreams", but the strength of the book lies in telling Hisako's story. She is a very well-developed character, though her past in only gradually given away - the book jumps backwards and forwards, looking at some of the key events of Hisako's life. It's a method that may take a little getting used to - especially if you haven't read anything by Banks before. However, for me, I felt it really added to the enjoyment of the book. Hisako's travelling companions aren't so well developed, and little is told of their lives, thoughts or motivations. However, as "Canal Dreams" doesn't set out to tell their stories this really isn't a problem - and I would absolutely recommend this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Unusual. Book about a female Japanese concert cellist kidnapped by supposed terrorists in the Panama canal. Maybe deserves 4 stars for the story and action but I feel it shows through that the author's life was very different from the main character's.
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By Jane Aland VINE VOICE on 3 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
Canal Dreams concerns a cello player scared of flying, who during a trip through the Panama Canal unwittingly ends up caught between revolutionaries and American special forces operatives. The basic scenario of this thriller is a good one, and the plight of the hostages stranded in the Panama Canal should result in a tense novel, but for some reason Canal Dreams never really comes to life. Probably the main culprit is the heroine Hisako, whose status as both a concert cellist and a martial artist able to kill with one strike is a little unlikely. Banks seems keen to explore what happens to people under extreme pressure – do they go meekly to their deaths or fight? It’s a good angle for a novel, but unfortunately due to her background Hisako is a very cold unemotional character who never really connects with the reader, and for all the pyrotechnics the action scenes never really come to life. Canal Dreams isn’t a bad book – there are plenty of nice moments in Banks writing to keep the pages turning, but compared to his other novels this is a rather flat and unengaging work. For Banks completists only.
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Format: Paperback
It’s often easier to approach an Iain M. Banks novel than one without the middle initial. At least with the “M” present and correct you know what genre you’re going to be reading, whereas his so-called “mainstream” work seems to take place in every conceivable genre plus a few he has created for himself.
Unlike novels such as “The Bridge” or “Walking on Glass”, “Canal Dreams” is based completely in reality. Unlike “The Crow Road” or “Dead Air”, you’d be forgiven for forgetting this fact. The story concerns a famous Japanese cellist who becomes involved in a hostage situation on board a ship unable to escape from the Panama Canal. Essentially, this book is a thriller, but because it’s Iain Banks, you get the suspicion that there’s a lot more going on under the surface than you’re actually aware of. Which is often a good thing, but in this case I couldn’t really make head nor tail of it.
I suspect, though, that “Canal Dreams” was more a satirical take on politics at the time of its publication, making it – at least to a degree – a little irrelevant here and now. Of course, you can just read this as a thriller, but to get more from this book perhaps you need to be older than me. Well, that’s enough of my naysaying – “Canal Dreams” is a very clear, often shocking, illustration of the way life can treat you in very unexpected ways, and just how fragile our lives truly are. Banks keeps the events described realistic right up until the end… without giving away what happens, just bear in mind that the central character’s final actions are completely impossible.
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Format: Paperback
I have read all of Iain Banks Books, and unusually perhaps this one I have always enjoyed.

Canal Dreams tells the story of Hisako Onoda a Japanese Cello super star prodigy who when invited to play the major capitals of Europe refuses to fly, and instead chooses to take a ship from Japan. She travels as a passenger aboard across the Pacific, through the Panama canal then to the Atlantic and Europe. In the early chapters there is some mention of guerilla in Costa Rica, but this in no way prepares us for what comes next.

As she enters Panama the country is already descending into war, but caught in her world of music and plans for Europe Hisako is barely aware of this, and sleepwalks onwards despite entreaties to leave the ship and take the plane. So Hisako is still on board when the oil tanker Nakado when trapped with two other ships in the Panama Canal, becomes the subject of an attack.

I won't say more about the story, just to say this is the opening, and the tale itself is one of human frailties vis human cruelties. the female character Hisako, as with all of Iain Banks female protagonist is carefully drawn and immediately compelling. the action is as cruel and relentless as any terrorist film.

With flashbacks to Hisoka's youth in Japan and a detailed knowledge of the engineering and layout of a super tanker, this book offers both exotic locals and interesting technological details.

Recommended
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