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The Crow Road, by Iain Banks
Fee Download The Crow Road, by Iain Banks
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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, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach. Prentice McHoan has returned to the bosom of his complex but enduring Scottish family. Full of questions about the McHoan past, present and future, he is also deeply preoccupied: mainly with death, sex, drink, God and illegal substances.
- Sales Rank: #544974 in Books
- Published on: 2013-07-08
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 7.83″ h x 1.26″ w x 5.04″ l, 1.01 pounds
- Binding: Paperback
- 512 pages
From Publishers Weekly
When Prentice McHoan, the irrepressible hero of Banks’s wily novel whose loves include drink, cars, girls and history, returns from university in Glasgow to his family home in Gallanach for his grandmother’s funeral, his thoughts turn to his uncle Rory, a travel writer who disappeared eight years earlier. When Prentice runs into Janice, an old girlfriend of Rory’s, the two wonder together if Rory has gone away the Crow Road (Scottish for died), and Janice reveals that Rory gave her a folder of his poems and notes before he disappeared. Rory’s writings are tantalizingly cryptic and turn out to include outlines for a novel-in-progress titled Crow Road. Fueled by his uncle’s notes, his own curiosity and a good bit of brown liquor, Prentice sets off to find his uncle in an engaging narrative that admirably balances bawdy Scottish humor, crafty character development and some good old-fashioned mystery. Prentice finds his closure—for better or for worse—and things are tied up neatly (maybe too neatly) by the end. Readers unfamiliar with Banks’s prodigious output have a great starting point here. (Aug.)
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This novel was originally published in the UK in 1992 and was the basis for a popular BBC series. Banks himself has said the novel is “about Death, Sex, Faith, cars, Scotland, and drink.” What he doesn’t say is that it is also darkly funny as it follows ne’er-do-well Glasgow student Prentice McHoan’s struggle to come to terms with his family, his beliefs, and his burning, unrequited love for beautiful Verity Walker. From its startling opening sentence (“It was the day my grandmother exploded”) to its bittersweet conclusion 500 pages later (“I raised my arms to the open sky, and said, ‘Ha!’”), Banks revels in techniques ranging from saucy dialogue to hilarious first-person narration to intense descriptions of class, place, and religion. The Scots dialect and sudden shifts in time and point of view may, at first, be confusing, but readers who persevere will be richly rewarded. A deeply felt portrait of a young man who, in between rounds of pints and an illegal substance or three, learns to face up to the darkness of life and love. –Joanne Wilkinson
His masterpiece … it’s got a beating heart, and you want to keep reading — Jay Rayner Daily Express
Most helpful customer reviews
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
By Judy Nance
A little quirky but all in all a good story
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful.
Banks’ Best (so far)
By John Jackson
I have only read two Banks novels. The Wasp Factory was pretty unimpressive. Very dark and twisted (which I enjoy), but the story was a bit weak and there was really nobody to root for.
The Crow Road, on the other hand, was a truly superb novel. Beautifully written. Dark and funny, great setting, with very interesting characters. The setup may feel a bit tedious but once the action starts it becomes a real page turner. For people who haven’t read Banks, this book has similiar feel to Ian McEwan’s “Atonement”, and Donna Tartt’s “Secret History.” (Both FANTASTIC novels). And I would put this novel in their league without hesitation. After the disapointment of Wasp Factory, Banks has shown his true colors with the Crow Road. Read this book!!
Warning!!! Spoiler here!!! Stop if you get “spoiled” easily!!!
There is even a sub-plot about the main character’s relationship with a friend/love interest, that in many other books could have ended up being very “sappy” and ruining the edgy-ness of the tale. But Banks brings it forth with surprising subtlety and it totally works with the rest of the story.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
One of the greatest British novels of the 90s
Banks is a pretty honest fellow. As a writer he doesn’t consciously set out to make his heros and heroines ‘good’, infact he certainly packs them with faults and foibles. A bit like real people in fact. Prentice is the same, and he’s all the more enjoyable to listen to for it. “The Crow Road” is supremely enjoyable and, as has been said already, works in every way, delivering what you want out of it. When I first read it it spoke to me about the confusions of leaving your teenage years behind and the need to mature. Now, it’s a rattling good murder mystery with some rather scathing politico dialogue thrown in. But there’s more in the mix and you’d have to find it out for yourself.
When Banks signed my battered old copy a couple of years back he smiled at the state of the cracked and dog-eared and well-thumbed book, then he wrote “Ha!” on the last page which, if you’ve read it, you’ll understand.
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