Saturday, November 26, 2011
In the large novelistic oeuvre of Iain Banks, this book resembles The Business (2001), another topical novel with a somewhat slapdash style, fun to read, fast moving, full of satire, political rants, and intrigue. I don't believe that this novel, alone among all of Banks' books, was ever published in the U.S., perhaps because it adopts an anti-American tone in the wake of the post-9/11 Twin Towers Bush atrocities. Intemperate invective against conservatives, anyone? Why not! You can now pick up used copies of this insufficiently published book very cheaply online.
The main character makes me think of a latter-day Lucky Jim, hilariously inept. A controversial radio talk-show host, he falls in love with the wife of a gangster and proceeds to get both himself and her into mortal danger due to a drunken phone call. This allows the author to indulge in a major nerve-wracking set piece involving a burglary of the gangster's headquarters.
I like Banks, would read anything by him, but don't particularly recommend this title before reading quite a number, really, of his other books which have a little more substance to them. Start with The Crow Road if you haven't read it and then try one of his science-fiction novels about The Culture.
Actually, read whatever you want in whatever order you want, whether it be by Iain Banks or anybody else, okay?