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Stewart Gilmour is back in Stonemouth. After five years in exile his presence is required at the funeral of patriarch Joe Murston, and even though the last time Stu saw the Murstons he was running for his life, staying away might be even more dangerous than turning up. An estuary town north of Aberdeen, Stonemouth, with it's five mile beach, can be beautiful on a sunny day. On a bleak one it can seem to offer little more than seafog, gangsters, cheap drugs and a suspension bridge irresistible to suicides. And although there's supposed to be a temporary truce between Stewart and the town's biggest crime family, it's soon clear that only Stewart is taking this promise of peace seriously. Before long Stu steps back into the minefield of his past to confront his guilt and all that it has lost him, uncovering ever darker stories. Soon his homecoming takes a more lethal turn than even he had anticipated. Tough, funny, fast-paced and touching, Stonemouth cracks open adolescence, love, brotherhood and vengeance in a rite of passage novel like no other.
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Iain Banks at his very best - his funniest, grittiest and most exciting novel yet.

About the Author

Iain Banks came to widespread and controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, THE WASP FACTORY, in 1984. He gained enormous popular and critical acclaim for both his mainstream and his science fiction novels. Iain Banks died in June 2013.


'There is more than a shade of Pip and Estella in Stewart and Ellie, and to create an emotionally satisfying while intellectually convincing ending is a rare achievement . . . Beguiling -- Stuart Kelly * Guardian * Readable, gripping . . . One of his best -- William Leith * Evening Standard * Banks at his waspish, intelligent, nuanced best. His fans will give thanks * Scotland on Sunday * The mythology of Stewart's past, and of Stonemouth itself, is utterly absorbing. Addictive, funny, and brilliantly observed * Daily Mail * 'There is more than a shade of Pip and Estella in Stewart and Ellie, and to create an emotionally satisfying while intellectually convincing ending is a rare achievement . . . Beguiling * Guardian - Stuart Kelly * Readable, gripping . . . One of his best * Evening Standard - William Leith *

The flower of Scotland's more than a wee bit wilted from drink and recreational drugs in this violent, funny, coming-of-age explosion from veteran Scottish novelist Banks (The Crow Road) set in moderately affluent Stonemouth, near Aberdeen. Some noxious native weeds, like the Murstons, a local crime family, are threatening to choke off narrator Stewart Gilmour now that he's returned after five years to pay his last respects to the clan's departed patriarch, Joe. Stu also has unfinished business with Ellie Murston, the girl he loves but left at the altar after the disastrous, hilarious disclosure of his boozy, coked-up pre-marriage fling. Stunning descriptions of coastal Scotland alternate with the rain-soaked violence of Ellie's brothers and Stu's painful flashbacks to his youth. His memories help him understand that beneath the "flash-hate" he's encountering, there's "something hurt and pathetic and raging." Banks ends by hopefully assuring us that even a land sapped by corrupt compromise and the "new orthodoxy" of materialism can bloom again. Agent: Kate Hibbert, Little, Brown U.K. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Stewart Gilmour returns to his hometown of Stonemouth, Scotland, to pay his respects at the funeral of a local patriarch. What should be a simple visit has to be negotiated with one of the two local crime families, a family that Stewart was a week away from marrying into when he skipped town five years earlier. With a weekend to kill before the funeral, Stewart endangers himself by questioning the circumstances that forced him to leave in the first place. This novel begins with all the elements of a good noir: a protagonist in over his head, a moody setting, and an atmosphere of danger. But about midway through, the plot begins to meander, and instead of remaining a taunt thriller or mystery, the novel ends up more as a love story and a meditation on returning to one's childhood home. VERDICT Although well written, the story seems confused about what it wants to be. Banks's (The Wasp Factory) latest is mildly recommended for fans of gritty European fiction, but fans of crime fiction and noir will likely be disappointed. [Banks also writes speculative fiction as Iain M. Banks; his latest Culture novel publishes this month, see below.-Ed.]-Pete Petruski, Cumberland Cty. Lib. Syst., Carlisle, PA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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