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The Quarry Hardcover – 20 Jun 2013
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Eerily compelling (William Leith Evening Standard)
The Quarry is not a book to be afraid of. It is a novel shot through with Banks' trademark humour, political engagement and humour . . . Banks has always been adept at evoking friendship, with its illogical loyalties and messes (Louise Welsh The Times)
It's a sign that in Banks we had a novelist of supreme subtlety and won who, in fiction as in life, and for all the concentrated horror of his debut novel, all the epic estrangements of his "skiffy" (sci-fi), and all the grimness of his final months, had an irrepressibly sense of fun that is evident on every page of The Quarry (Brian Morton Independent)
As always with Banks the dialogue is a sheer delight, whether it be baleful drink-and-drug fuelled reminiscence or bickering one-upmanship . . . It is the central characterisations that give the novel its power . . . Banks handles the challenge brilliantly . . . Despite his cruelty, most readers will adore Guy. It helps that his expletive-filled jeremiads comprise some of the funniest writing Banks has ever produced . . . But then for twenty-nine years Banks has made it his business to inspire sympathy for monsters . . . It may be this element of compassion that accounts for why so many readers are now experiencing a keen grief for the loss of a writer who has the rare gift of being infallibly entertaining (Jake Kerridge Daily Telegraph)
This is vintage Banks, full of heart, black comedy and vitriol, and is sure to delight his fans (Sunday Mirror)
The new novel from Iain Banks, the bestselling author of The Wasp Factory.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
Guy does not go gentle into the good night. He rages against the world, the illness and the group of friends who have gathered around him for a long weekend. It does not help the atmosphere that he has brought them all together to find and destroy a video-tape that somehow incriminates them all and threatens their current careers.
The group were all together at university some twenty years previous and their evolution into the current personalities is the real subject of the book and how youthful idealism becomes corrupted by the passage of time and the need to make a living.
The narrator, Kit, is Guy’s son and suffers from Asperger’s syndrome - a high-functioning form of autism. This makes him perfectly placed to observe them all without making judgements about the motives and motivations of the various friends as they rapidly fall out and betray each other in the course of the weekend.
It should be depressing, but it isn’t. I left the book buoyed up and joyous. Death robs us of life but not of having lived a life. The changes in the characters of our friends may dismay us, but it does not take away from what they once were.
Someone who was beautiful, kind and loving cannot erase their past glory by being a little faded now.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book as I have enjoyed so many of Iain’s books. Now to re-read them all!
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.