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.…
©1992 Iain Banks (P)2013 Hachette Digital
"Riveting...exhilarating...its pace, development, intensity, and, above all, its hip and sexy humour never allow it to flag. Banks reinforces his credentials as one of the most able, energetic, and stimulating writers in the UK." (Time Out)
"As fine and ambitious a novel as any from a Scottish writer since the 1960s." (New Statesman)
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The Crow Road is one of those books that draws you in from the very first line, which in this case is a rather memorable "It was the day my grandmother exploded." Set in Scotland and beautifully read by Peter Kenny, whose interpretation of Prentice McHoan (and all the other characters through whom the story is told) is spot on. Without wanting to give away any spoilers, the story is quite dark in places, concerning as it does a "perfect" murder, but peppered with dark humour and great characterisation. The Crow Road is not only a street in Glasgow but is also an expression for death as in "He's away the Crow Road", and the suitability of this as a title becomes more apparent as the book progresses. I found it very enjoyable to listen to, and recommend it without hesitation.
"The Crow Road"
When a book starts with such a brilliant line as The Crow Road does it can be downhill after that but not in this case. Set in a fictitious village in Argyll in Scotland (part of the fun is trying to place exactly where the village is) this is a brilliantly written family saga in which the plot is revealed as the narrator's life unravels. The narration by Peter Kenny's reading of the book is excellent; drawing you in and making you believe in the characters. I may have read The Crow Road many times but I was still enthralled while listening to it.
"Laugh out Loud"
Have so enjoyed this book it makes you laugh out loud. Never read or heard anything from this author before. Thank you to another Audible reviewer I have now found a gem
"a great book beautifully read"
This is a particular favourite, both as a book and the Short TV series that was produced, so the risk was it wouldn't meet expectations... on listening to this it not only met but surpassed all the expectations, and is one of the best Audio books I have listened to so far. It's well read and Peter Kenny really brings to life the characters... The only disappointment of the listen was that it had to come to an end, well worth a listen....
"Have listened to this book many times!
Love this story,have read the book many times. It,s a thriller a love story and a lot of my life with the Aunty's, Uncle's etc. is so like my own life.( yes, I am that old) .
"Brilliantly written, laugh-out-loud funny"
I loved Kenneth. The way he taught his children was amazing and his stories really appealed to me, even the made-up ones were very clever.
The children. Peter Kenny is probably my favorite narrator so far. It is very difficult for an adult to narrate children without affectation. I have found that most adult attempts at narrating or dubbing children is annoying and even pitiful and ridiculous. Peter Kenny manages to narrate everyone, even the children without affectation and very amusingly too.
It made me laugh a lot. Iain Banks has an incredibly witty and often very dark sense of humor which I love.
The Crow Road is one of my all time favorite books, and Peter Kenny has brought it to life in his usual brilliant manner.
Very enjoyable, utterly satisfying family saga and coming of age tale, full of family secrets and discoveries. Iain Banks's humour really twinkled wryly throughout and Peter Kenny's narration was great.
My only criticism would be that it took me a while to get used to the jumping back and forth in time in the beginning and I sometimes wasn't sure who was who and when was when. I'm sure that this is a problem only with the format and you would probably follow this much more easily if you were reading on paper - just takes a bit of concentration at first on audio. (Might be me, I tend to listen whilst cooking & cleaning and sometimes the attention drifts.)
"The Modern Macbeth"
I not only engaged with the characters but I actually believed in them. The story is tight with enough mystery, jeopardy and misdirection to keep you wanting to hear the next chapter. I really enjoyed the fact that the families are depicted as very normal dysfunctional groups of people that you and I interact with every day.
Without giving away any spoilers the most memorable moment for me was after the main character lost his bag on the train. It was so important but also so easily done that I had a small rant out loud (before remembering that I was in public wearing headphones) with empathetic frustration on his behalf.
He is a fast talker which in another style of book may be a drawback but for this narrative it was exactly right. He uses intonation well and does not telegraph the many surprises prematurely as so many reader tend to.
Yes, but I did not have the opportunity, however if you did listen to it in one sitting I think you'd be exhausted trying to absorb each twist. This is after all not only a love story but a damn good murder mystery too.
This was my fist Banks book and I'm now very keen to read the next - any suggestions what would be a good follow up?
I read this book when it first came out and watched the TV version both of which I enjoyed but this stands head and shoulders above either. I recommend this book with out any reservations. Superb story performed superbly by Peter Kenny. 🍻
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