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on 4 December 2017
Prior to this I had read just one book by Iain Banks - Raw Spirit, In Search of the Perfect Dram. The Crow Road is a revelation, first published in 1992 and contemporaneous with that time. A great panoply of a story, a lengthy tale, a huge canvas covering the trials and tribulations of the McHoan family, narrated for the most part by Prentice McHoan, who has returned to the bosom of his Scottish family in Gallanach.

”It was the day my grandmother exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach’s Mass in B Minor…” A riveting start to a story, indeed!

Warm, funny, enchanting, poignant - the scope of The Crow Road is complex, telling the tale of the McHoan family - past present and future. A tale of unrequited love, a man preoccupied with death, sex, drink, God and illegal substances. There are passages that had me shaking with laughter; stuck in the mind, had me laughing out loud hours after reading them. Yes, it’s that good! With a satisfying mystery that Prentice is determined to solve, with unexpected consequences.

Bearing in mind that The Crow Road was published twenty-five years ago it still reads as a contemporary tale, although any background events take place in the 80s and 90s.

The Crow Road is considered by many to be Banks’ finest novel.

I loved it.
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on 11 April 2014
The Crow Road was my first Iain Banks novel and its a good one. It concerns a Scottish family and their friends and family and gradually unfolds during many years, perspectives and viewpoints to reveal secrets that held the family together.
The story is mainly told by Prentice, the university studying middle son. There are flashbacks from other people to previous generations though which at first confuse and then shed light on the story. It can be difficult to keep track of the characters and the time frame this is written in. However, the writing is first class, although a little dense at times. I found it difficult to get through at times but the prose is so well written that its very rewarding of the effort concerned.

I will probably pick up his other books after this, but not immediately. This is, however, a fine novel and one worthy of the acclaim it has received.
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on 12 May 2018
Disappointed - having read wasp factory and “steep rise” was looking forward to exploring all Iain Banks catalogue but crow road I find cliches, same characters with different names as “steep rise” and unlike that novel I just didn’t believe or care about the characters in Crow Road. Found the constant back and forth in time irritating and stopped reading any passages of childhood with Kenneth. Found the politics clumsy and cliches too. Skim read most of last third except the Ashley parts then stopped altogether before the end. Thought I’d found a new author to explore but now I doubt it. Shame.
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on 10 March 2015
This is a story of a family group who meet some interesting situations, become aware of some rather dubious actions (murder) and eventually resolve a mystery that has bothered the family for over a decade. There is also the maturing of the main character and the gradual development of love with a long term friend. This is a good read with some wonderful descriptions from Banks and the use of some great Scottish expressions (Glasgow really). The Crow Road is a real road in Glasgow but the expression "To Take The Crow Road" means you are dead.
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on 14 March 2018
Read this years ago and seem to remember lending my copy to someone and it disappearing. Even though you know the ending it’s so well written that it keeps you going. I found myself reading sizeable chunks of it. It hasn’t aged at all and is still one of Iain Banks finest and funniest book
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on 15 December 2013
It is an epic story about a family, covering 3 or more generations, through flashbacks from a guy who is a young man in the 1970s. The characters are all well drawn and intriging. I was an adult in the 1970s and can remember all the events to which he refers. Any younger readers might find this difficult, because references to current events are part of nearly all the conversations that occur. Does speaking in "Clanger" mean anything to you? Well I can remember what that was about, so I'm enjoying the book.
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on 3 June 2014
Only Iain Banks novel I have read (I have read some Iain M Banks), it was a good read. The characters were strong and memorable and as a person who has not seen much of Scotland it made me want to visit. There were quite a few things that I could pick on as weak aspects of the book, pacing and that once the ending was self evident it then took a long time to get there. There are other things but overall I enjoyed the book.
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on 23 January 2015
Enjoyed reading this book - you could sympathise with the protagonist as he struggles to find his way.
The family dynamic in the book is interesting and the characters are interesting people, who the author has brought to life well.

In the background is a murder mystery, which slowly ticks along, offering further intrigue.

Very different style to his sci-fi novels, which is what I had read until now.
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on 20 November 2017
Exactly as described and arrived quicker than expected. Thanks!
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on 26 December 2014
I've just read this for a second time (having recommended it to a book group, none of whom had read any Iain Banks). I loved it the first time around, really enjoyed on the second. It's a right old mish-mash of approaches to story telling but there is tremendous energy to it all. You do have to concentrate hard though because it leaps around in time zones without any great sign-posting.
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