Thursday, 4 January 2018

The Crow Road by Iain Banks

The Crow Road by Iain Banks
First published in the UK by Scribner in 1992.

Featured in Cover Characteristics: Flying Birds

Where to buy this book:

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From its bravura opening onwards, THE CROW ROAD is justly regarded as an outstanding contemporary novel.

'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...

I received my review copy of The Crow Road as part of its twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations. Has this book really been around for that long?! Iain Banks is an author I have been aware of for ages, but I think this is the first time I have ever read any of his books. What an omission! And one I am glad to have rectified now. The Crow Road is, now anyway, quite a nostalgic book to read focussing as it does on everyday life. It is proudly Scottish and I liked the intermingling of social classes together with the resultant snobbery. Our 'hero', Prentice, is a likeable waster and expertly portrayed so I could easily see how he has become such a famous character in literary circles. Banks has a shrewd eye for detail and nuance together with a gorgeously poetic turn of phrase so reading the prose in this book was an absolute delight. I loved the descriptions and metaphors. For me, the only things that let down The Crow Road were that I did sometimes become confused about who was who in such a large cast and that my attention did frequently stray from the main storyline. It was strange - individual scenes are brilliant but the overall narrative didn't keep me gripped in the same way.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Iain Banks / Contemporary fiction / Books from Scotland

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