On Wednesday 17th August I finished The Quarry by Iain Banks. His last book, written while he was dying and published after his death. I don't think it will be remembered as one of his classics; I found it just okay.
His lead characters are often mouthpieces for his own views on society, religion and politics (and those characters with different views are rarely sympathetic or reasonable), but one can forgive that more in what is a writer's last knowing words to the world. The story itself was pretty insubstantial, the plot-drivers dissolve like mist somewhat. I've just got the last two science fiction novels to read - Surface Matter and The Hydrogen Sonata. Then, no more.
First line: Most people are insecure, and with good reason.
Last line: We get back into Hol's little faded red Polo and drive off.
Dedication: For all my friends, family and fans, with love.
Thanks: With thanks to Adele, Richard, Les, Victoria, Celia and Gary.
The cover (unusually for me, on the dust jacket of a hardback, which I picked up very cheap in a charity shop (part of my great Shrewsbury Flower Show haul) knowing I would read it quickly and it wouldn't be taking up space on the shelves for too long) is a straightforward depiction of elements from the book, and, especially when you fold it out so you see back and front (the house is on the back), it's quite a good illustration. (In fact, I see now looking at the info in the book that there are lots of photo credits for the cover, as well as a designer credit, so it's obviously manipulated, composite images.) You can understand having the quotes on the back, but you do wonder why with someone like Iain Banks you have to bother putting on the front a line like 'Auther of the Sunday Times bestseller Stonemouth'. I guess there are always new readers, especially ones who have just picked up or know a book because of a screen adaptation.