Stonemouth is a good read with some incredible prose and some very flat characters. Banks has a phenomenal narrative voice which propels you through the book and makes it hard to put down, but the characters here are paper thin and the plot is, despite what the better reviewers think, a tired re-hash of former glories. I would not have bought the book myself, but it was a gift and I did enjoy it, I just don't think the characters ring true to life and I don't think Banks is capable of getting inside the heads of people at all any more. His female characters exist only to be worshipped and his male characters are boring stereotypes.
A previous reviewer suggested Banks try his hand at a middle aged protagonist, and I whole-heartedly concur. If he's looking to retread former glories, maybe Espedair Street re-written as a once successful writer looking back over his career as it fades to repetitiveness may provoke him into meaningful character insight, since his prose itself is majestic. Hackwork, but well written.
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