Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

"I haven't killed anybody for years and don't intend to."

If you seek some relaxing holiday reading, then The Wasp Factory, should probably not be your first port of call. Teenager Frank, is, quite frankly not what he seems except to the extent that he is a nasty piece of work. It’s not often that a protagonist begins his tale with claims of committing the murder of three children before the age of ten.

Set in a strange desolate, Scottish Island, the novel reeks of death, the unknown and a sense that the world has just all gone wrong. Perfect reading for this miserable age, perhaps that’s why I finished it towards the end of 2016. I know my reviews are a little behind.

Frank’s older brother, Eric, is another frightful character who escaped from a mental institution after having lost the plot, quite understandingly, when he tries to feed a brain damaged baby, missing a skull cap, whose brain is being attacked by maggots. Oh Sorry, that should have come with a “don’t read this line before lunch” warning.

I don’t want to give the game away as to what actually transpires at the end, other than it was unexpected and enhanced my perception of the novel as a whole. The author reflected on his work as a way of publishing his writing and passion for Science Fiction by considering the Scotland of his youth as a jumping off point.

Particularly of interest was his commentary that the book was -
which makes it firm fodder for a post-Trump world where fake news is part of the daily narrative.

The novel’s extreme violence within the constraints of childhood makes for confronting reading and yet anyone who has been bullied at school knows how evil other children can be. Banks further posited that he 
I’m not sure the sophisticated moral framework helps that much, as I read the news sometimes I think we are living on that island populated by crazy kids with guns, trying to be something they’re not and wreaking havoc on the planet. On that dire note I think I need a lie down. 

4 out of 5 ways to put a dampener on your holiday cheer.

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