From its bravura opening onwards, THE CROW ROAD is justly regarded as an outstanding contemporary novel. 'It was the day my grandmother exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach's Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach.' Prentice ...
From its bravura opening onwards, THE CROW ROAD is justly regarded as an outstanding contemporary novel. 'It was the day my grandmother exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach's Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach.' Prentice McHoan has returned to the bosom of his complex but enduring Scottish family. Full of questions about the McHoan past, present and future, he is also deeply preoccupied: mainly with death, sex, drink, God and illegal substances...
"It was the day my grandmother exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony with Bach's Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallenach." This was the first Iain Banks novel I read, but it wasn't the last. It is brilliant - so imaginative, energetic, and original that I truly couldn't put it down. Plus the first paragraph is one of the greatest EVER. This is a wry, poignant, sexy family saga which paints a vivid picture of growing up in Scotland in the early nineties. Prentice McHoan is an attractive hero, a sarcastic, self-deprecating college student who begins to question his family's past, and in the process uncovers a ten year old mystery. He is also preoccupied with sex, drugs, alcohol, death, his relationship with his estranged father, and the unrequited love of his life. The wonderful thing about The Crow Road is that it's so unexpected: when you are positive you know what will happen next, Banks veers in some completely new direction. And the language is always fresh and engaging. To borrow a phrase, Banks jitterbugs up one page and watusis down the next: "Grandma Margot was humming to herself; she sounded happy. I wondered if she was recalling her tryst in the Lagonda's back seat. Certainly I was recalling mine; it was on the same piece of cracked and creaking, buttoned and fragrant upholstery - some years after my gran's last full sexual experience - that I had my first. This sort of thing keeps happening in my family." Don't walk, run to buy this book. You won't be sorry.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-07-07 When Prentice McHoan, the irrepressible hero of Banks's wily novel whose loves include drink, cars, girls and history, returns from university in Glasgow to his family home in Gallanach for his grandmother's funeral, his thoughts turn to his uncle Rory, a travel writer who disappeared eight years earlier. When Prentice runs into Janice, an old girlfriend of Rory's, the two wonder together if Rory has gone "away the Crow Road" (Scottish for "died"), and Janice reveals that Rory gave her a folder of his poems and notes before he disappeared. Rory's writings are tantalizingly cryptic and turn out to include outlines for a novel-in-progress titled Crow Road. Fueled by his uncle's notes, his own curiosity and a good bit of brown liquor, Prentice sets off to find his uncle in an engaging narrative that admirably balances bawdy Scottish humor, crafty character development and some good old-fashioned mystery. Prentice finds his closure--for better or for worse--and things are tied up neatly (maybe too neatly) by the end. Readers unfamiliar with Banks's prodigious output have a great starting point here. (Aug.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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