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Espedair Street Hardcover – July 5, 2001


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Hardcover, July 5, 2001
$166.77 $4.31

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company (July 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316858552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316858557
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,612,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Engagingly told, cleverly constructed."  —Time Out
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Iain Banks came to widespread and controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, THE WASP FACTORY, in 1984. He has been a hugely popular writer of fiction ever since, and, as Iain M Banks, of science fiction.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on March 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
As I've mentioned before, one of the things that makes Iain Banks so great is his refusal to repeat himself, all of his novels, SF or not (and this one is not), are different animals, tackling different subjects in various ways. Yet all of them are clearly written by the same person. This is one of his less brutal novels, describing the rise and fall of a extremely popular fictional rock band as seen through the eyes of their bass player and principle song writer. And while there are the typical things that you'd seen on the usual rock biopics, the drugs and sex and drinking, Banks doesn't focus on those all that much and looks at the price of fame, at the interaction between the band members, and takes some well-deserved stabs at the music industry while he's at it. The book is told in the first person by Daniel Weir (or "Weird") and while he's a bit mopey he has a keen sense of humor and his observations of the madness going on around him (even as he willingly throws himself into the madness) are perceptive and the situations the characters find themselves in are often bizarre but strangely funny and oddly realistic. Banks also makes a good decision to continue to follow Daniel after the band inevitably breaks up, interspersing his recollections of the band years with his life living in Scotland (he does an excellent job of portraying the city and people, giving the place a distinctive flair, his gift with the accents is well done, although that coupled with the local slang can make some conversations a bit hard to follow or understand . . .) and the people he meets, many of whom don't realize that he has more money than he can figure out what to do with and he's trying to decide what the heck to do with his life in general.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jan-Thorsten Reszat on August 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
Having recently read Espedair Street and seen Almost Famous (directed by Cameron Crowe) in the movies, it's kinda logical to compare those two pieces. As a start I gotta say first, that I liked both handiworks and it's tough to tell if one was better than the other.
Both works accompany a rock band on their way to famedom. And in both works the author picks one leading character to tell the story from his viewpoint. While Crowe uses the young reporter William Miller as an outside observer, who acts basically as the band's mascot, Iain Banks features Daniel Weir as the band's base player and genius mind behind their songs. The stories unfolding are quite amusing, and the band members and all the different egos involved are displayed quite honestly, giving diversified insights to the life of a rock band behind the curtains. Yeah, it's all glimmer and glamour, but the people behind are no gods (though they might wanna believe they are), but they are ppl like you and me with positive and negative traits alike.
But while Crowe's message ends here, Banks goes a bit further, as he creates a second plot around Daniel Weir after the band has split up. While Danny recalls his bands' story, his current life as the queer hermit residing in his remote church runs parallel and is described in quite colorful details, featuring just another group of freaky people and very comic-style situations, with some of them resulting from his former life as a rock star, and some just odd emanations of the weirdness of daily life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Angus Rodger on July 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've read most of Iain Banks's novels, and enjoyed all of them (that is, all of the ones I've read). He has great writing style - no cliches, good turns of phrase, lifelike characters, and lots of interesting ideas. This book's relatively straightforward compared to the others, with a pretty simple plot, but still enjoyable. I particularly liked the ending. So, four stars!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Horton on June 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I must admit I was a bit taken aback when the book opened with the narrator declaring that he had decided to kill himself. To be sure, he quickly assures us that he has decided to live after all.

It being an Iain Banks book, it's told on two timelines. Fairly traditionally: one timeline recounts the last few days in the life of Danny Weir, while the other tells the story of his life from his late teens to the present (age 31). Danny Weir, we soon gather, was the bass player and songwriter for a huge 70s/80s progressive rock band, Frozen Gold. His nickname was Weird (for Weir, D., obviously enough). The band seems to have ended under rather distressing circumstances, which don't become clear for a long time.

In the present day thread, we learn that Danny is living a pointless existence in a mock cathedral in Glasgow, drinking his life away with Communist liquor, spending time with three not-quite-friends -- a young man, a rather older man, and a prostitute. He still writes music, but not very seriously -- film scores and commercial jingles. He gets drunk enough to have no idea what crazy things he might have done. He also doesn't tell any of his friends who he really is -- letting them think he is just the caretaker for Danny Weir's property.

The other thread tells the story of Frozen Gold: how Danny more or less forced himself on the band as a songwriter (they were talented players of cover tunes), his resentment of the middle-class origins of the other members, the meteoric success of the band. Danny is extremely tall (6'6") and he describes himself as ugly. The leaders of the band are Davey Balfour, a supremely talented guitarist, and Christine Brice, a wonderful singer.
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