The Crow Road 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 th

  • Title: The Crow Road
  • Author: Iain Banks
  • ISBN: 9780349103235
  • Page: 244
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 fut 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

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    About "Iain Banks"

    1. Iain Banks

      This author also published science fiction under the pseudonym Iain M Banks.Banks s father was an officer in the Admiralty and his mother was once a professional ice skater Iain Banks was educated at the University of Stirling where he studied English Literature, Philosophy and Psychology He moved to London and lived in the south of England until 1988 when he returned to Scotland, living in Edinburgh and then Fife.Banks met his wife Annie in London, before the release of his first book They married in Hawaii in 1982 However, he announced in early 2007 that, after 25 years together, they had separated He lived most recently in North Queensferry, a town on the north side of the Firth of Forth near the Forth Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge.As with his friend Ken MacLeod another Scottish writer of technical and social science fiction a strong awareness of left wing history shows in his writings The argument that an economy of abundance renders anarchy and adhocracy viable or even inevitable attracts many as an interesting potential experiment, were it ever to become testable He was a signatory to the Declaration of Calton Hill, which calls for Scottish independence.In late 2004, Banks was a prominent member of a group of British politicians and media figures who campaigned to have Prime Minister Tony Blair impeached following the 2003 invasion of Iraq In protest he cut up his passport and posted it to 10 Downing Street In an interview in Socialist Review he claimed he did this after he abandoned the idea of crashing my Land Rover through the gates of Fife dockyard, after spotting the guys armed with machine guns He related his concerns about the invasion of Iraq in his book Raw Spirit, and the principal protagonist Alban McGill in the novel The Steep Approach to Garbadale confronts another character with arguments in a similar vein.Interviewed on Mark Lawson s BBC Four series, first broadcast in the UK on 14 November 2006, Banks explained why his novels are published under two different names His parents wished to name him Iain Menzies Banks but his father made a mistake when registering the birth and he was officially registered as Iain Banks Despite this he continued to use his unofficial middle name and it was as Iain M Banks that he submitted The Wasp Factory for publication However, his editor asked if he would mind dropping the M as it appeared too fussy The editor was also concerned about possible confusion with Rosie M Banks, a minor character in some of P.G Wodehouse s Jeeves novels who is a romantic novelist After his first three mainstream novels his publishers agreed to publish his first SF novel, Consider Phlebas To distinguish between the mainstream and SF novels, Banks suggested the return of the M , although at one stage he considered John B Macallan as his SF pseudonym, the name deriving from his favourite whiskies Johnnie Walker Black Label and The Macallan single malt.His latest book was a science fiction SF novel in the Culture series, called The Hydrogen Sonata, published in 2012.Author Iain M Banks revealed in April 2013 that he had late stage cancer He died the following June.The Scottish writer posted a message on his official website saying his next novel The Quarry, due to be published later this year , would be his last The Quarry was published in June 2013.

    604 thoughts on “The Crow Road”

    1. This is a re-read for me, I first read this a long time ago but I loved returning to it. I admit to hugely adoring the author and his wide body of work, including the sci-fi. Iain Banks has a imaginative and distinctive storytelling approach, offbeat characters and unusual, curious scenarios that cannot fail to capture a reader's interest. The icing on the cake is the wit and humour pervading this novel of loss and death. There is a strong sense of the Scottish location in the tale of Prentice M [...]


    2. I was enjoying the hell out of this book right up until, near the end, it decided without warning to become a murder mystery. That section felt so out of place with the rest of this meandering, detailed meditation on death and growing up.Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook


    3. Damn, this book was terrific! I don't know why I didn't stumble across it earlier, given it was published in 1992 and was adapted by the BBC as a miniseries in 1996 (oh wait . the 90's were the years that got eaten by my "professional career" the mindless TV years). Anyway, no matter."It was the day my grandmother exploded." Any author with the balls to have that as an opening sentence deserves to be given a chance, at least. Banks keeps up the brilliance for another 500 pages, drawing you in to [...]


    4. The story is told mainly by Prentice McHoan who having returned to Scotland is reunited with his very different and complex family. Prentice tells tales of the family past, present and future all the time being preoccupied with: mainly death, sex, drink, God and illegal substances.This is an entertaining read and full of humorous stories.I would like to thank Net Galley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for supplying a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


    5. 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.The Crow Road is the first novel by Iain Banks that I've read, and it has one of the best and irresistible opening hooks ever - it quite literally begins with a bang (get it?). What other novel begins with the main character's dead grandmother exploding?Iain Banks is a [...]


    6. 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. It's so easy to choose this famous opening line for starting a review of Crow Road, and therein lies the danger of focusing only on the sarcasm, the tongue-in-cheek, flippant running commentary provided by Prentice McHoan on the history of his family and on his own gro [...]


    7. This is the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Crow Road. 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 reflected that it was always death that brought me back to Gallanach.The Crow Road is the first book I have read by the author, Iain Banks. The story is told mostly by the protagonist Prentice McHoan. I could not make my mind up if this book was a family drama or a murder mystery. The charact [...]


    8. 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, th [...]


    9. If I could choose no stars I would have. I really cannot stand books that have characters I don't care about. No one in this mess of family / extended family / friends of family was remotely memorable. I could care less about their issues as well. I read this book because it's on the 1001 books list and I have never read anything by Iain Banks before - and I wasn't missing anything. The reviews for this book were great - so I was very disappointed in it's lack of eh - everything! Brilliant - not [...]


    10. Iain Banks. Every time I go through the process of selecting the next book to read, and one of his comes up, I wonder, hmmmould I now? Or should I put this off until I'm ready; for a special time perhaps.The thing is, Iain Banks is a very special writer. You need to be ready for him because his stories require a lot of focus and patience. This is what makes him great. Almost always, there is a payoff that makes all the wondering of where he's is going worthwhile.Take Walking on Glass, for exampl [...]


    11. This book is written in a very non-linear style which made it very difficult to comprehend what was going on at the beginning. Once I understood the rhythm of the narrative what developed was a very well written, interesting story of a family in Scotland. Banks did an excellent job with characterization, not only in defining them but making me really care what happened to them. This is a slower paced book that kept my interest to the end and actually left me wanting more. Highly recommend.


    12. There are two parts in this book which I really found beautifully written. The first is on page 25, “These were the days of fond promise, when the world was very small and there was still magic in it.… Then, every day was a week, each month a year. A season was a decade, and every year a life.”The second was the incredible discussion on the meaning of life and death on page 484.“Was Fergus Urvill anywhere still? Apart from the body – whatever was left of him physically, down there in t [...]


    13. It's kind of hard to describe this novel, and to give it a review: so much happens, and so little is definable by the traditional standards by which we measure books. I mean, was it enjoyable? Yes. Was it well written? Yes. Was it un-put-down-able? For me, especially by the end, yes. But while all this is true, it isn't why I liked it. Or not the only reason. Behind the funny antics of three interesting families in Scotland, lies a mystery. But tying it all together is a very thought-provoking, [...]


    14. I can't say enough good things about Iain Banks's The Crow Road. My only question is, why didn't I hear of him and read his work sooner? He's brilliant. It's like Graham Swift and Irvine Welsh met to write a novel, and Swift's insight tempered Welsh's mania, but Welsh's hipness updated Swift's subject matter. The result is a brilliant novel - grim, gritty, but funny and somehow uplifting without being cheesy. It shouldn't make me feel good to read it - it should be depressing as hell, self-defea [...]


    15. A mitad de camino de la novela de maduración y el drama familiar, The Crow Road es magnífica mientras mantiene el equilibrio entre esos dos aspectos. Dos tercios de su extensión en los cuales se alternan capítulos en primera persona donde su protagonista, Prentice, relata su enfrentamiento con su padre, el vacío dejado hace unos años por la desaparición de su tío, su enamoramiento de una prima y otros en los que un narrador omnisciente desarrolla el pasado familiar, en especial la relaci [...]


    16. The Crow Road struck a major nostalgic chord within myself; the books main narrator and protagonist, Prentice McHoan, is roughly my age and brings to life his youth during the 1980's and early 1990's, and as as well as narrating his tale, he evokes the history, the culture and politics of those years. As well as The Crow Road being essentially a murder/mystery, a different take on crime fiction in many ways, it contains the trial and tribulations of three generations of two related Scottish Fami [...]


    17. I was disappointed by this book, and stopped reading after a bit under 200 pages.My head was spinning at the constant back-and-forthocity of the flashbacks,forwards. Maybe the author thought it was fun to make us figure out what time period we were in now, and who was the effective narrator at any point. I found it more taxing than fun.I also feel like the author wants to be a bit Nabokov with his language. He peppers in fifty dollar words like susurration which is fun when I know what they me [...]


    18. There are many ways to write a merely good novel, but I've read few great ones--novels with truly compelling plots--that don't make their emotional impact by pummeling their main characters until their lives just can't seem to get any worse, and then somehow finding that bit left to destroy. The Crow Road does this masterfully. Halfway through the book, main character Prentice has watched his romantic interests thwarted by those who are supposed to be closest to him, painfully embarrassed himsel [...]


    19. And it is like this.Suddenly tears spring from your eyes and and you are too surprised by them to be able to stop the small flood that follows. Not entirely timely since you are in your favourite coffee shop hereabouts waiting for a vegetable tagine.* * * * Prentice, you prat, how can you not see the bleeding obvious right in front of your nose? As I wait for my tagine, I’m wondering what those who like to divide writing up by quality where literature is ‘best’ call Banks? Not literature. [...]


    20. Stayed up late to complete 100 pages yesterday, and read the last 50 pages this morning. :o)This was so fabulous, a great human story. It takes us through the college years of Prentice McHoan, concentrating on how he experiences and relates to his family (immediate and extended), friends, romantic interests and also the world at large and the question of the existence of God. So clearly a bildungsroman, yet it doesn't have the feel I often associate with that type of work. Told anecdotally, and [...]


    21. The best thing to have come out of my quitting Facebook is unarguably the rekindling of my love affair with reading. I don't know if I'm the only creep who follows snarky, funny and poignant reviews by absolute strangers (who mostly wouldn't know I'm following their reviews) and then religiously track down their favourite books, or be tempted into reading a book they've reviewed - books I'm sure I would never have even heard of in my own life, had it not been for and the people I follow.So for [...]


    22. _________________________________________(Gratuitous cross-promotion)I wrote this minimalist review as a protest against notgettingenough's intolerably wordy screeds. For example, look at her recent review of Jeremy Clarkson. I mean don't. Don't!


    23. I'm a fan of IB's and have enjoyed some of his books enormously. Dead Air was singularly one of the best reads I've ever had; a couple others would make the top twenty. But I didn't like this. I couldn't finish this. some say it's his seminal work, the top of his game. I don't think so. Maybe I found it dated. Certainly the Scottishness of it got to me. I found it hard going and going nowhere. Maybe I should have stuck with it longer? I don't think so - a lucky escape me thinks.


    24. 1 of 25 books bought today for $10 (the lot).Really looking forward to starting this one, but have to finish a few others first. (understatement!)


    25. The long and winding road.This is the story of the upper middle-class McHoan family, in particular Prentice, his coming of age and the important relationships in his life: with his father Kenneth, a natural story-teller, with his older brother Lewis, a moderately successful stand-up comic, Prentice’s love for the beautiful gamine Verity, his friendship with the sassy, self-sufficient Ashley, the oddness surrounding the family’s castle-dwelling neighbour Fergus Urvill and the strange disappea [...]


    26. See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary FlitsI received my review copy of The Crow Road as part of its twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations. Has this book really been around for that long?! Iain Banks is an author I have been aware of for ages, but I think this is the first time I have ever read any of his books. What an omission! And one I am glad to have rectified now. The Crow Road is, now anyway, quite a nostalgic book to read focussing as it does on everyday life. It is proudly Sc [...]


    27. The Crow Road by Iain Banks a dark tale that is worthy of every star you could give it. I have enjoyed several books by this author over the years mostly ones that my mother has recommended to me, this time it will be me recommending to her that she reads this one. This is your typical Banks in that its dark and gritty and if you are familiar with his work you will recognise the writing style, and it’s definitely worth a try if you haven’t. The style is fresh in a genre that is becoming drea [...]


    28. The Crow Road by Iain Banks begins with the memorable line "It was the day my grandmother exploded." This line is, in fact, a good indication of the rest of the novel. This novel is full of similarly pithy one-liners and hooks (another good example being the start of chapter five: "Right, now this isn't as bad as it sounds, butI was in bed with my Aunty Janice.") but unfortunately aside from amusing me with the occasional one-liner the book didn't do much for me.At first, due to the vertiginous [...]


    29. This one Banks best non sf books that is dark & creepy who would thought that it's 25years ago sine it was written.It need very much to be made into a movie


    30. The Wasp Factory was a book of raw brilliance. It spoke to me like no other book before - the paternal disconnect, the playful violence, a psychopathic anti-hero who, paradoxically, was easy to identify and empathise with. If not zeitgeist, then it felt like a book of its time - something that just needed to exist, even if Banks himself hadn't written it.The Crow Road is a return to form. For me Banks lost his way a little after the Wasp Factory, as if trying to recapture the brilliance of the f [...]


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