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The Quarry Hardcover – June 20, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


Eerily compelling -- William Leith Evening Standard The Quarry is not a book to be afraid of. It is a novel shot through with Banks' trademark humour, political engagement and humour ... Banks has always been adept at evoking friendship, with its illogical loyalties and messes -- Louise Welsh The Times It's a sign that in Banks we had a novelist of supreme subtlety and won who, in fiction as in life, and for all the concentrated horror of his debut novel, all the epic estrangements of his "skiffy" (sci-fi), and all the grimness of his final months, had an irrepressibly sense of fun that is evident on every page of The Quarry -- Brian Morton Independent As always with Banks the dialogue is a sheer delight, whether it be baleful drink-and-drug fuelled reminiscence or bickering one-upmanship ... It is the central characterisations that give the novel its power ... Banks handles the challenge brilliantly ... Despite his cruelty, most readers will adore Guy. It helps that his expletive-filled jeremiads comprise some of the funniest writing Banks has ever produced ... But then for twenty-nine years Banks has made it his business to inspire sympathy for monsters ... It may be this element of compassion that accounts for why so many readers are now experiencing a keen grief for the loss of a writer who has the rare gift of being infallibly entertaining -- Jake Kerridge Daily Telegraph This is vintage Banks, full of heart, black comedy and vitriol, and is sure to delight his fans Sunday Mirror

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 gained enormous popular and critical acclaim for both his mainstream and his science fiction novels. Iain Banks died in June 2013.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (June 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408703947
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408703946
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,962,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By My2Cents VINE VOICE on August 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A fictional town called Bewford in England is the setting for Iain Bank's novel, The Quarry. The story is narrated by eighteen-year-old Kit, a seemingly awkward teen, who appears to perhaps fall somewhere on the Asperger's-Autism spectrum charts. He's super smart, a computer-wiz and spends hours upon hours playing computer video games. This could be a coping mechanism for Kit as well.

Kit lives with his father, Guy, a 40-something man, who is dying of cancer. Kit does not know who his mother is, yet hopes to find out before it's too late. The two live in old house on the edge of a "quarry", that is literally, falling-apart, and his dad has just weeks to live. As the story opens, Guy's friends are arriving for a final visit with their old college friend. Over lots of alcohol and drugs, the friends gather for a final visit with their dying friend. There is talk among them about the need to find an incriminating videotape that the guys had made years earlier, but the heavily drugged Guy has no idea what he did with the tape.

Honestly, I had a tough time with this short novel. First, there are so many characters who come to say goodbye to Guy, that it was tough to keep track of them. In my opinion, all of these so-called friends were annoying, shallow and had no real depth. Then there was Kit, who in my opinion, was the novel's redeeming light. I felt for Kit and his situation -- no mother in the picture, and a dying dad who has never shown him any real affection. For what could have been a very depressing story, Kit made the story funny at times as he navigates life and the people around him. It was hard not to feel sorry for Kit. It's a relatively short novel about living and dying and dealing with the hand you've been dealt.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
One of the characters in Iain Banks' final novel is dying of cancer, the disease that ended Banks' own life. Banks lightens a serious story about death with characteristic humor touching on a variety of subjects, including movies, religion, British politics, AA, families, and holistic medicine. Many of the laughs come from a character who expresses himself with uncommon bluntness. Kit Hyndersley is insensitive, self-centered, introverted, and autistic. He feels most comfortable when he is online, in a role-playing game called HeroSpace, where clearly defined rules govern his life and expectations are unambiguous. Some people feel sorry for Kit because he is mentally ill; others pity him because he doesn't have a "real" life. His father's friend Holly is teaching him the conventions of polite social interaction, most of which he regards as inane. Kit knows he doesn't think like other people, but he's content and sees little reason to change. His version of happiness might not be the norm, but as he sees it, "happiness is happiness." In any event, the reader wouldn't want him to change because he's perfect the way he is ... perfectly infuriating, perfectly amusing, and (unhampered by the filters of politeness) perfectly honest.

Kit is eighteen. He lives with his disagreeable father, Guy, in a dilapidated house on the edge of a quarry. Guy's cancer does nothing to improve his disposition. Kit doesn't know his mother. Guy has kept her identity a closely guarded secret, sometimes hinting it might be someone Kit knows, other times inventing improbable liaisons with women in distant places.

A group of friends from Guy's university days, fellow students of Film and Media Studies, have come to spend the weekend in his house, helping to empty it of clutter.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By See Em Gee on June 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover
What I haven't read of Iain (M.) Banks lies on my shelf waiting to be read, there are only a couple of those amongst all the rest waiting to be re-read. I don't think anyone has the right to say an object of art is "good" or "bad", all we can say is "I like it" or "I don't like it" or something in between. I don't love The Quarry like I do any of the "Culture" series and his other science fiction novels, his "mainstream" novels have always been hit or miss with me, but as a parting shot, I do like The Quarry.

Knowing the author's personal circumstances while writing his last novel makes a difference to me. I believe this to be a personal statement of Mr. Banks about his life and how he feels about leaving it. I may be putting too much into the conversations in the book, how much is fiction, how much are real feelings? I sure don't know.

All his books are filled with a degree of dark humor and there is plenty here, the novel is not dreary or morbid, quite funny in spots, with pearls of wisdom thrown in along the way.

It is told from the point of view of the son of a dying man who says he himself is strange, but I don't find him extraordinarily so, he is like many teenage boys I knew. The father, who is dying of cancer, isn't really prominent in the novel except as a referral point. The majority of the book is filled with conversations between the son and the father's friends, his buddies (male and female) during college days who have come to visit for what may be the last time. The last pages of the novel the father's voice is heard above all else. There is also always mystery in Banks' works and a minor mystery or two is revealed at the end.

Would I recommend this to everyone? No.
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