Kit doesn't know who his mother is. What he does know, however, is that his father, Guy, is dying of cancer. Feeling his death is imminent, Guy gathers around him his oldest friends - or at least the friends with the most to lose by his death. Paul - the rising star in the Labour party who dreads the day a tape they all made at university might come to light; Alison and Robbie, corporate bunnies whose relationship is daily more fractious; Pris and Haze, once an item, now estranged, and finally Hol - friend, mentor, former lover and the only one who seemed to care.
But what will happen to Kit when Guy is gone? And why isn't Kit's mother in the picture? As the friends reunite for Guy's last days, old jealousies, affairs and lies come to light as Kit watches on.
©2013 Iain Banks (P)2013 Hachette Audio
A brilliant story, his last book that perhaps reflects some of his own thoughts, challenges and insights as he confronted mortality. And Peter Kenny reads extremely well, as he always does. After a few hundred audiobooks I can say that this combination of author and reader are my absolute favourite and I highly recommend them.
"Excellent narration of Iain's last book"
the narration and the steely response to cancer with a touch of rage into the night with humour and understanding
brings out the individual characters of the protagonist and the friends and especially his father
just thanks to all involved especially Iain Banks and Peter Kenny
"Iain Banks last novel"
Iain Bank wrote this book then announced he too had cancer and died shortly before this book was rushed through and published.
This will not be the first or last. He is a great storyteller and writer. One of the 20th century greats.
He has a great way of bringing together his characters.
Kit - he is intelligent so insightful.
all of it
"Gives understanding of disability."
Understanding of illnesses.
Kit. Thinking about what was going on in the story and Kit being such a young boy who was the main carer of Guy, his father, made me feel that as a young man he was able to pass on a lot.
Not sure I've listened to any before but my memory is terrible so maybe I have. It was very expressive and I got a lot out of his voice.
Would have liked to do that but because of family commitments I wasn't able to.
I'm very glad that I heard about the book which was obviously hyped a lot in Scotland with Iain Banks being Scots and then dying, so I'm glad that I got a hold of it and listened to it. I knew Iain Banks was a top author and this book was another top story.
"An excellent listen for a sunny day"
I could listen to Peter Kenny read almost anything, I love his way. Combined with another great observation of the human condition from Iain Banks the experience is great.
I lay in the garden for two days in listening heaven with breaks for people, drinks and food, what more could you ask for.
"Goodbye Mr Banks."
Like many, I mourn the loss of one of our greatest writers; Iain Banks. So, I’m biased, I admit it. Despite my bias, this is a great novel. For the Banksians out there, the story is written from the perspective of a teenage boy; like Wasp Factory. The flow is quick with political undertones like Crow Road. It’s dark too, like Complicity and The Bridge. It also has that dark humour that’s hidden inside the modern dysfunctional family, Garbadale, Stonemouth and Business. In summary, a great finale – you need to listen to this.
One final note, Peter Kenny, he's a perfect choice to narrate Banks' work. He provides the icing on the cake.
"A must read the the devoted Banks fans like me"
OK - so the book was not his best, but we need to cut this great guy some slack - he was after all dying before he even started the book. Banks is just a fabulous imagination and while this was a great listen and was pretty well read, I will so much more miss him for his 'Feersum' SciFi. I am so glad he also loved his SciFi so much.
If either of us were religious - I would be saying - Bless you Banks!
I really couldn't say - I really could not continue to listen after the first hour!
I very much enjoyed the Lewis trilogy so was very disappointed with The Quarry and am returning it having not managed to listen past the first hour.
Performance not a problem - it was the story!
"A climax that never happens"
This was my first Banks encounter and I was expecting a lot and had no knowledge of any of this previous work. It reminded me of one of those 1950s American plays of great intensity by Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller or Eugene O'Neill - a family gathers in one room and over the space of two hours they haul out the dark secrets and through tears, cursing, accusations and several litres of alcohol they leave relationships in tatters and the mother in tears. Banks does the modern version - something like "Peter's Friends" but instead of Aids being the elephant in the room the father of the central character is dying of cancer. Through the familiar haze of alcohol, drugs and sharp tongues the groups of his university friends who have gathered to say goodbye tear through each other's reputations. Told by his son who suffers from Aspergers, the book builds up to a climax that never materialises and then fades into nothingness. I suspect that the dying man's rant echoes Banks's own cry of anger and frustration at his unfortunate disease. He does not manage to recreate the dramatic intensity of the American playwrights and his plot is shallow and rather pointless.
"Not the great Mr Banks' best"
This is really not in the same league of many other Banks books, such as The Wasp Factory or The Crow Road to name but two. There is very little in the way of plot and I really took a dislike to most of the argumentative characters, the exception being Kit who is an interesting creation whom I think could have been used to much greater effect.
This is generally a very pedestrian read pulled up only by Peter Kenny's narration which keeps things moving, although there isn't a lot of movement to be had.
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