Stonemouth by Iain Banks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I thought I'd read all of Iain Banks' stuff, whether with middle "M" or not. Seems this one slipped under the radar somehow.
Anyway, I'm glad I found it because it's a real return to form, easily up there with The Crow Road and Espedair Street as far as his non-SF stuff goes.
It is, of course, full of the usual Banks cyphers and characters, taking in his usual stops of politics, dark humour, drug-taking, thriller, and romance along the way. If anything it's one of the more romantic books Banks has written, even if the main character is hard to sympathise with at first.
It's a real page turner, and written with such (seemingly) effortless skill that it is effortless to read as well. The story, plot, characters and writing all combine to make an incredibly readable novel. It made me laugh out loud, and one part even had me covering my eyes and physically wincing as I read it.
The themes of the book are easy to relate to - regret, guilt, and returning home after a long time away to find so much changed yet so much the same. The thriller/conspiracy aspect keeps the themes nicely tied up and the end is genuinely effecting.
View all my reviews
Retro Sample Week: Duke Nukem 2
3 hours ago