Iain Banks : where to start?

Chris Hallam's World View

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Iain Banks, who died this month, was one of my favourite writers.

In a career spanning twenty nine years, he wrote an impressive twenty nine books including the science fiction Culture books (as “Iain M. Banks”: his middle name was Menzies). To my sham, I’ve largely not read any of these though I would recommend The Player of Games (1987).

But, to the uninitiated, which of Banks’  “mainstream” novels is best to start with? Let’s take a look…

The Wasp Factory (1984)

“Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different and more fundamental reasons than I’d disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim.

That’s my score to date. Three. I haven’t killed anybody for years, and don’t intend to ever again.

It was just a stage I was…

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