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Publisher's Summary

Hisako Onoda, world famous cellist, refuses to fly. And so she travels to Europe as a passenger on a tanker bound through the Panama Canal. But Panama is a country whose politics are as volatile as the local freedom fighters. When Hisako's ship is captured, it is not long before the atmostphere is as flammable as an oxy-acetylene torch, and the tension as sharp as the spike on the cello....

©1989 Iain Banks (P)2013 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

" Apocalyptic is the first word that springs to mind to describe this violent and powerful novel in which Banks once again demostrates his extraordinary dark powers of imagination...impressive." ( The Times)
"This stunning, hallucinatory, semi-surreal fable pits an artistic, precariously balanced sensibility against a world of brutal political forces." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Annie
  • 11-23-14

Canal Nightmares!

Would you listen to Canal Dreams again? Why?

I listened twice, but mainly to sort out bits of the plot that I missed, or was confused about. For me, I would probably have got more out of this book, by reading it.

Any additional comments?

This was an interesting bookt. I don't know enough about this period to know how much was pure fiction. It was an interesting concept and quite well done. I have enjoyed some of his other work more, but that is a personal view.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Wras
  • 11-16-14

A life suspended

This is a good book in many ways, but it never defines it selfe. The main character is well developed and her motivations are understandable, she is real and likable. The rest of the world around her,is very well described and engaging; on the other hand the geopolitical conflict sound dated, poorly manufactured and pointless (given the real history of the region). Making the ending a bit of a mess, detracting from a really interesting character, that needed no pyrotechnics to enhance her.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • awesome
  • 05-13-18

Not for me I’m afraid

I tried hard to like and finish this book. I’ve done 75% of it, but I’ve given up as I find it pointlessly odd. I read a wide and varied collection of literature and whilst I was never an A* student at interpreting an author’s intent, this one just left me frustrated. The main story on the boat is quite engaging - but the constant dream stories I just find - well, odd and rather dull. I hate not finishing a book, so I shall read a synopsis to see how it all turned out, but I can’t summon the desire nor effort to listen to the end on this one.