Enter - if you can bear it - the extraordinary private world of Frank, just 16, and unconventional, to say the least.
©2007 Hachette Audio; (P)2007 Hachette Audio
First of all, this book is about the development of a psychopath. There's violence, sadism and a total lack of empathy. You might feel distressed about it. Personally, I don't have a problem with the underlying subject but caveat emptor and all that.
What I like about the book is the setting and the narration style, both of which are fitting. What I have aproblem with is with the "shallowness" of the writing. I believe it does not develop the characters enough, the story is feeble and flashbacks don't really help. The book reads as characters basically act and react upon "random" events of violence, explained with greater detail than the story itself, and it's difficult to follow a backstory or evolution of the characters.
It's an interesting book if you're interested in the subject and explains how somebody develops that kind of personality disorder, but don't expect an engaging story or psychopaths of the "character quality" of Hannibal Lecter.
I arrived here from Iain's SciFi background, which is incredibly complex, with layers upon layers of interconnected stories, interesting and well developed characters (esp. AIs) and a whole alternate reality to explore. I probably set my own expectations too high based on previous experience but alas, I was disappointed.
Excellent narration of a brilliantly constructed story. Listening to some books, I drift off and miss what's been said for the last 5 minutes. This had me hanging on every word. An absolute must read/listen.
"The Wasp Factory"
Peter Kenny's soft spoken and convincing narrative draws the listener into the strange world of the teenage Frank who lives on the edge of a small community in Scotland. Frank lives life with a strong sense of rhythm and ritual, which is interrupted by the imminent return of an elder brother.
Frank calmly unfolds the story of an unusual upbringing where things are not at all what they seem.
A macabre delight where the unpleasant happenings are balanced by the charm of the character.
"Brilliantly read that brings the story to life"
This was one of my books I had to read as coursework but I am badly dyslexic so I relied on the audio book to bring it to life. Which it did beautifully. All I can say is that I recommend it and thank you.
"Well adapted for audio."
A supurb story, have heard it before, and always worth another go.
Iain Banks at his best.
"Dark, funny and perfectly read"
One of the best books I have read/listened to in a long time. Frank is a wonderfully developed character, and all the side characters are interesting too. Despite the rather horrific narrative this book is often very funny, and the phone calls between Frank and Eric had me in stitches.
The narration is perfect, I could listen to Peter Kenny's voice all day.
"Absorbing story with a great twist"
Intriguing, disturbing and surprising
You are completely drawn in to the life of the narrator, somehow coming to empathise with them despite the total and utter weirdness and the murdering.
The twist at the end was both shocking and totally unexpected, I don't think that I have been caught this off guard in anything that I have ever read.
The central character is so bizarre but strangely touching. When you learn all about the wasp factory the thoughts, preoccupations and emotions while alien to any reader are genuinely touching and moving.
Peter Kenny's performance is fantastic and for me completely embodies Frank.
"A great introduction to Iain Banks"
From the first to last page this is a tremendous story,superbly presented , the ideal introduction to Iain Banks the story and descriptions are a master class in presentation....
A truly original insight into another world, one which I hopefully will never visit in reality.
"Review: "The Wasp Factory" by Iain Banks"
Overall, I loved this book. It is a short read (or listen), but it has something about it that demands you only nibble at it and chew on each little mouthful to savour the taste. I can see why it popped up when I asked for recommendations for the boys as I've never read about a character's toilet activities in such detail... is it judgemental for me to chalk that up as something a lad might giggle at? Sorry if it is, but I think Banks made certain aspects of his narrative overtly "male". Frank tries very hard to be seen as a manly man...
I'm not sure my review can do this book justice as I feel reviews shouldn't give too much of the game away. I feel like I could go back to my roots a bit and thoroughly enjoy analysing this book, quotes and bibliography and all! If that isn't praise then I'm not sure what is!
I'm giving this four and a half stars. I'm holding back half a star only because I guessed the ending at almost the very start of the book. Even so, I loved every second.
I've read 'The Crow Road' by the same author and really enjoyed it, so I thought I'd try another. It's pretty bleak. The main character is slightly unhinged, but his past is revealed in such a matter-of-fact way that it seems the author is suggesting his personality isn't so far from normal. In fact, the whole thing is so far from normal that it loses credibility. I was a bit relieved when I finished it. Good narration, though.
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