The Crow Road

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The Crow Road

by Iain M. Banks

April 22, 1993 | Trade Paperback

The Crow Road is rated 4 out of 5 by 2.
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...

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 512 pages, 7.75 × 5 × 1.29 in

Published: April 22, 1993

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0349103232

ISBN - 13: 9780349103235

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Most Accessible Banks The Crow Road is not Iain Banks best book, but I understand why it is his most popular (even though I am sure it's the wrong Banks book on that list of 1001 books to read). • It has the most catchy of openings: "It was the day my grandmother exploded." It's an opening that appears regularly in lists of "best opening lines" and rightly so; it's intriguing, messy and one of the best hooks I can remember reading. • Apart from some characters in a couple of his lesser known "mainstream" novels, the McHoans, Urvills and Watts of The Crow Road -- even with their eccentricities and foibles -- are Banks' most likable characters. • The Crow Road's plot is Banks' most accessible for mainstream audiences. It is a mix of the jilted lover tale (where the protagonist loses the love of his life to someone close to him, never having noticed that the woman he should be loving has been his best friend, standing right beside him as long as he can remember), the quiet murder mystery, and the generational family soap opera with a Scottish castle and Observatory thrown into the mix. It's the sort of comforting storyline that everyone's Mum can love (well...my Mum, at least). • It's compellingly paced too. The build is languid with just enough information and forward momentum to keep its audience on board until the "can't-put-it-down" portion of the book kicks in around page 350. It's the perfect book for sitting on a comfy chair, in the sun, over a long weekend on Loch Lomand. And for some of those reasons, I, too, enjoyed The Crow Road, but not without mitigation. My main problem was that I didn't like the narrator, Prentice, until very late in the novel. In fact, Prentice may be the least likable protagonist I've encountered in Banks' body of work (and that includes Frank Cauldhame from The Wasp Factory). He whined, he moaned, he was petty, he was precious and his sense of entitlement drove me crazy. But, of course, that was the point. Banks wanted him to p*ss us off so that his growth would ring true. And it does. It's just that reading a first person narrative from the perspective of such a pain in the butt borders on the tiring. Which, to Banks' credit, he recognized and handled well with interjections of third person narrative focused on the elder generation, thus giving us respite from the little jerk until Prentice developed into a genuinely likable guy. Paradoxically, though, The Crow Road also includes my favourite supporting character in all of Banks' books, Prentice's father, Kenneth McHoan. I know most people love Rory and his globe trotting bohemianism, but Kenneth is a cooler guy and a great Dad. From his River Game (a home made, violence free game of trade economics), politics and love for his son, to his children's stories, atheism and wonderfully fitting death, Kenneth was the part of The Crow Road I longed to read. When he wasn't there I was thinking about him, and when he was there I never wanted his part to end. Plus, I kinda wish he'd been my Dad. So what do I really think about The Crow Road? Well...I like it. It's a good read, an accessible read, and it has some moments of absolute beauty (like the post-coital Morse code, the way Ken handles the creation of the Black River Game, and the ending is one of Banks' most emotionally satisfying). But as I said, it's not one of Iain Banks' best books. The trouble for Banks is that his best books -- the dark and sinister or the challenging or the ferociously creative -- are books that most people don't want to read and many who do read them just don't connect with them. I do, though. They're my glass of scotch. And I'm always willing to imbibe in some Banks. He's officially one of my faves. Give him a try if you haven't. You may develop a crush.
Date published: 2010-04-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good At times this book was very good and at times it got bogged down. The story itself was interesting and had a few twists and turns. There were times I felt like telling Prentice to wake up. I also felt the book could have ended several pages before it did
Date published: 2006-06-11

– More About This Product –

The Crow Road

by Iain M. Banks

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 512 pages, 7.75 × 5 × 1.29 in

Published: April 22, 1993

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0349103232

ISBN - 13: 9780349103235

From the Publisher

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...

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.

Editorial Reviews

Hip and sexy humour....Bank reinforces his credentials as one of the most able, energetic and stimulating writers we have in the UK. TIME OUT-The Crow Road is tight with detail and closer observation and creates a strong sense of a particular period of growing up. THE INDEPENDENT