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Whit

4.4 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Argo (April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1858497779
  • ISBN-13: 978-1858497778
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,294,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Fierce contemporaneity, an acrobatic imagination, social comment, sardonic wit...the peculiar sub-culture of cult religion is a natural for Banks, and Luskentyrianism is a fine creation (THE TIMES)

One of the most relentlessly voyaging imaginations around (SCOTSMAN)

Entertaining...comically inspired (GUARDIAN)

Banks's remarkable juggling act, alternating his mainstream novels with his widly imaginative science fiction fantasies, is notable most of all for the continuting growth and assurance he displays in any genre... [WHIT is a] delicious satire on both the re (PUBLISHING NEWS) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

* Paperback reissue of a modern 'Pilgrim's Progress' - Iain Banks' WHIT. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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. "Whit" is his eighth non-sci-fi book, was first published in 1995 and comes with the subtitle "Isis Amongst the Unsaved".
The book's central character is Isis Whit, commonly called Is - though more formally known as Blessed or Beloved Isis. Isis is a Luskentyrian, a member of a religious sect founded by her grandfather, Salvador. Like him, she is very important to the faithful - she holds the position 'Elect of God' and is a future leader of the Luskentyrians. Home is High Easter Offerance - located in Scotland, on the banks of the River Forth. The book opens in May 1995, when Isis is nineteen years old and with the Festival of Love approaching. The Luskentyrians consider people born on the 29th of February very special - the Blessed Isis herself was born on that date. As a result, a Festival of Love is held every four years - at the end of May in the year preceding a Leap Year. As the end of May is nine months before the end of February and it is a Festival of Love, I'm sure you can figure out what happens at it...
Isis' cousin, Morag - while not strictly considered a missionary - has been living in London for six years. Based on her letters, it appears she has become a successful musician - an internationally renowned baryton soloist, no less. She had been due to return to High Easter Offerance for the festival, where she would have been the Guest of Honour.
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By A Customer on 7 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback
It's hard to pigeonhole Iain Banks. As a writer he's traversed the entire literary landscape of Scotland in every medium from science fiction through thrillers, warped social satire, and even the literary equivalent of the road movie, if you count "Raw Spirit". "Whit" has a little bit of all of the above. Its leading character is also unlike almost all other Banksian narrators: the teenage Isis Whit, brought up in a remote commune by an other-worldly religious cult, is a far cry from the cynical, dysfunctional individuals who are Banks's stock in trade. In fact she's more like a modern-day Alice exploring a Wonderland of modern technology, habitual dishonesty, sexual weirdness, and unconventional spirituality. Her breathless naivety as we follow her travels through her own wide eyes paints a remarkable picture of life in modern Britain, and colours a mystery as gripping as that of "The Crow Road" and just as enchanting. Of course, by the book's end, Isis has had to come to terms with the realisation that all is not necessarily as it seems in Paradise; she leaves us older and wiser, but not, we hope, disillusioned.
For me this is easily one of Banks' best books. It's the only one of his that you might seriously contemplate lending to your grandmother and is much more accessible to the Banks newcomer than much of his work. The mystery element which pervades the story is fascinating, making this an un-put-downable read. And there are enough searching questions about life, God and the world we live in to make this much more than just another mystery story. The quirks of Banks' writing style and the weirdness of his characters come across in the most engaging way. 450 pages will pass like they're 100.
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Format: Audio CD
Isis is the central figure in a small, Amish-like family cult in a remote part of Scotland.
She is sent out on a quest into the wider world to find a cousin who has disappeared, and begins a voyage of discovery about herself, the cult and its various members. Her most significant revelations, however, occur after she returns home.
This story is quirky and amusing with delightfully empathetic characters, and a lightness of touch in the writing. It's not a simple or facile tale though and it'll keep you thinking long after you finish it.
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Format: Hardcover
Banks does an excellent job here of turning what is in essence a simple story into a fascinating and enjoyable journey. Isis is supremely-well depicted, the events richly and vividly portrayed, and some of the characteristics of those involved so believeable that you could not help but feel real empathy (or disdain, depending on who it was) for the main players.
But it is at the higher levels where you find the true value of this book, because it forces open even closed minds on the trickiest of subjects, introducing it as it does in a dismarming, balanced, entertaining and unprejudiced way, lightly tugging at one's conscience and provoking a very considered personal response.
Cleverly done, as one would perhaps expect, but nonetheless both entertaining and rewarding throughout, and well worth the read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Quite Iain Banks' best novel, in my opinion. It's a brilliantly written laugh-out-loud romp as the lovely, clever but naive Isis Whit sets off on an epic journey to coax her cousin Morag back into the strict religious community in which the book is set, only to find Morag is perfectly happy making very, very pornographic movies and loads of money into the bargain. I challenge any red-blooded male not to fall in love with Isis as she brings this exciting and brilliantly crafted book to a nail-biting cliffhanger of a finish. Mercifully absent is the bleakness and the relentless, political ideology and dogma that hinders (and pads) so many of Banks' novels unless, of course, you are lucky enough to be a sado-masochist and dedicated Marxist. Whit is a great read. Sadly, after re-reading it recently and enjoying it just as much second time around, I bought and read Banks' semi-autobiographical epilogue, The Quarry. I have never felt so let down by a favourite author.
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