I was elbow deep in potato peelings when I heard the news last night, that the author Iain Banks had died at the grossly unfairly young age of 59. I’d missed the apparently well publicised announcement that he was suffering from terminal cancer, so it came as a huge shock.
Like many of his fans, I can date my attraction from the mid 1980s and his first novel The Wasp Factory. (I just checked and I have the second edition – 1985). I remember reading it while on holiday in the Highlands, in fact I can even tell you that I read a lot of it sitting in the dunes of Balnakeil Beach near Durness, engrossed.
Until then I hadn’t read much outside the classics I’d studied for A level, so his novel came as quite a surprise. You can see from the reviews, he included in the beginning of the book, he wasn’t to everyone’s liking….
But I was one of the very many who thought he was wonderful.
Over the years I’ve read my way through a number of his Iain Banks books – the Other Half likes his sci-fi titles better (Iain M. Banks).
If you’ve been here recently, you’ll know that inspired by Susan Hill, I am undertaking a challenge not to buy any new books for a year, but to read the ones I already have but haven’t read, or re-read titles that call out for another airing.
As you can probably see, all my Iain Banks books are well and truly read. In the normal course of things, I wouldn’t have put any of his titles on my list for this challenge, but after this sad news, I may well re-read The Crow Road, which I think is my favourite of all. (Occasionally if I can’t sleep at night, I try to remember the body count and sequence in The Crow Road).
One of his books that I didn’t buy, was his travels in search of Single Malts. This was out of pique – having spent a couple of years doing my own informal whisky tours and being peeved that he’d got a book out of it.
But it is my sincere wish that he is now sitting in heaven at a bar stocked with all the best single malts and with the Black Bowmore on tap.
I appreciate his works may not be to everyone’s taste, but I was a fan and so to his family and fans world-wide, I for one extend my sincere condolences – a sad day indeed.
11 thoughts on “Iain Banks: Away the Crow Road…”
I freely admit that Iain Banks isn’t an author whose work ever appealed to me, but our son is a devoted fan of both his mainstream and sci-fi novels and like you is genuinely grieved at his early death. I was very impressed by the way he announced his terminal illness and hoped he would have longer than the two months he managed.
By all accounts he was a thoroughly likeable chap, no edge, just happy being himself – if he hadn’t left the books, I think that alone would have been something to be proud of.
Yes, saw the news on Twitter and felt a great pang for youthful reading, I might just re-read a few myself, I loved both genres – all a worryingly long time ago though! Mine were all borrowed from my place of work, saves on the storage and leaves home shelf space to rescue the odd bit of noble but worn withdrawn stock!!
I love the way books find their ways into our hands – I think there must be a little sprinkling of magic that somehow tells us we’re going to like a certain story or writer’s work and brings us the books we somehow want to read.
Here here re. the bar he’s hopefully sitting at now.
I’m not keen on Bank’s books but I absolutely love The Crow Road … another one for my reread list I think 🙂
Sorry that should say on all his books, The Crow Road isn’t the only one I like, The Wasp Factory’s another 🙂
I think I might time The Crow Road for re-reading just before Christmas – I don’t know if you’re the same, but I associate some books very much with certain times of the year and this feels right for that one.
I’m just getting to the point of wondering whether my 12-and-a-half year old son is old enough for Player of Games yet! That’s my fave!
Good luck with that – I keep suggesting books to my daughters, but so far Wyrd Sisters – Terry Pratchett, is the only one they’ve enjoyed.
My son’s very useful – he likes a lot of the book I like and I’ve started reading his books too ! We’re both waiting for the next Percy Jackson at the moment!
You’re lucky! It’s all Games of Thrones here – sigh.