Monday, 11 August 2014

Espedair Street by Iain Banks

“Two days ago I decided to kill myself”

I was sitting in a café reading this book at breakfast the other day and found myself completely engrossed. Perhaps it was the hangover that was giving me a little insight into the world of a guilt ridden ex rock star with a penchant for blowing his money and living like a hobo, or maybe it was my Doc Marten knock offs speaking to me. I can’t say for sure, this is a novel that draws you in slowly and then builds like a memorable song.
Aspects of the plot drift in and out, almost in the fashion of a mystery. How did Daniel Weir get here, who is he, what went wrong? So many questions and my interest was piqued. The rock star lifestyle of private air travel and Greek beaches is greatly at odds with Daniel’s grubby existence that reeks of someone who has given up and has nothing to live for. So, it is not surprising that the novel begins with him explaining how he had decided to end it all.
The Frozen Gold reminiscences seem so otherworldly, as the band skyrockets through the seventies, high on the charts and anything they can lay their hands on. The ending was ultimately one of hope, that Daniel’s shallow existence, his act first, think later, impetuous behaviour had come to a close, just as his life, in some ways, had come full circle. I was surprised by how poignantly the story played out.
Another surprise was that Iain Banks is the same author as the Science Fiction author Iain M Banks – a point of confusion for many on line (and for myself), this interview sorted it out for me.
On a side note, and quite possibly a little narcissistic of me; my favourite character was Christine (well, we spell it differently).

5 out of 5 hotel rooms trashed.  

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