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Book Talk host Paul Gallagher is joined by science fiction author Ken MacLeod and editor and literary events organiser Oisin Murphy-Lawless to discuss The Quarry, the final novel from the greatly loved and respected Scottish writer Iain Banks, who sadly passed away in early June this year, just days beforeThe Quarry was published.
The Quarry is narrated by Kit, a socially awkward, mildly autistic 18-year-old who lives with and looks after his cancer-stricken father Guy. The story involves a last weekend reunion of Guy’s old uni pals, before the house he and Kit live in is demolished to make way for an expansion of the adjacent quarry: an event that Guy is unlikely to live long enough to see. As the weekend progresses Kit observes the old friends hanging out, talking and arguing, and also becomes aware of a particular video tape that they are all keen to get their hands on for reasons none of them are willing to explain – a tape that Guy may have hidden somewhere in the house.
Here's some of the questions the panel discuss:
- The Quarry initially seems a uniquely difficult read - is it a challenging book?
- The narative voice is self-aware, analytical and removed. What does that do to our understanding of The Quarry's cast of characters?
- How much, or not, should we interpret The Quarry as a personal statement from Banks about his own life?
- Where does The Quarry fit in Banks' body of work?
Join the discussion in the comments below or by tweeting us your thoughts @scottishbktrust or leaving a message on our Facebook page.
BookTalk is produced by Colin Fraser of Culture Laser Productions, with music by Sam Gallagher.