The Crow Road – Intimatenights.co.uk


The Crow Road I was enjoying the hell out of this book right up until, near the end, it decided without warning to become a murder mystery That section felt so out of place with the rest of this meandering, detailed meditation on death and growing up.Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook I was enjoying the hell out of this book right up until, near the end, it decided without warning to become a murder mystery That section felt so out of place with the rest of this meandering, detailed meditation on death and growing up.Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook It was the day my grandmother exploded I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach s Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach It s so easy to choose this famous opening line for starting a review of Crow Road, and therein lies the danger of focusing only on the sarcasm, the tongue in cheek, flippant running commentary provided by Prentice McHoan on the history of his family and on his own gr It was the day my grandmother exploded I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach s Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach It s so easy to choose this famous opening line for starting a review of Crow Road, and therein lies the danger of focusing only on the sarcasm, the tongue in cheek, flippant running commentary provided by Prentice McHoan on the history of his family and on his own growing up process, as angsty and self conscious and annoying as only smartypants teenagers can be But there sgoing on under the provocative surface, and for me the last line of the quote is the key to the novel Prentice is obsessed with death, not without reason, seeing as he looses a lotof his relatives and friends before the end of the novel can t say who exactly, spoilers and all that The quest to define his place in the real world and to come to terms with loss will overshadow theconventional storyline of Prentice chasing girls and learning about sex Frankly, I believe this romantic angle could have been handled better not only could I guess the outcome right from the start, but the final revelations made me laugh at the silly instead of touching my tender bones view spoiler Morse code WTF hide spoiler Prentice did have a nice turn of phrase when he describes the girl he lovesthe stunning, the fabulous, the golden haired, vellus faced, diamond eyed Verity, upwardly mobile scionette of the house of Urvill, the jewel beside the jowls the girl who, for me, had put the lectual in intellectual, and phany in epiphany and the ibid in libidinous Having read Stonemouth about a year before this, I was struck by how similar Stewart and Prentice are in the role of self absorbed and slightly unreliable narrators of their own stories Both behave outrageously towards their families and to the girls they love, both drink heavily and experiment with drugs, both have strong family ties calling them back home East Coast in the latter published book, West Coast in the earlier version Stonemouth benefits from a tighter,focused plot and acredible romantic relationship, as well as what I considered abalanced,elegant prose Crow Road has its own strengths, and surprisingly they come from one thing that initially annoyed me the fractured timeline and the random jumps in point of view to other members of the McHoan clan, and their tightly knitted relatives in the Urvill and Watt families The larger perspective showcases adiverse thematic beyond the teenager angst, looking at mature love, growing old, raising kids, being an artist, politics, economics, and so on.Childhood memories, primarily of Prentice and his brothers, but with sidetrips looking at the older generation, play an important part in the process of understanding oneself, both by identifying the deep roots and the connection to the land of his birth, and by stressing the cyclical nature of the events, repeated with variations from one generation to another Three brothers Kenneth, Hamish, Rory pass the ball to the younger team Lewis, Prentice, James I was envious of Prentice of the wild liberty he had to explore the Gallanach county, with its ruined castles, windy ocean shores, clear lochs and high moors of his friends Darren, Ashley, Diana, Helen most of all of his storytelling father who was so good at inventing modern fairytales for the kidsThese were the days of fond promise, when the world was very small and there was still magic in it He told them stories of the Secret Mountain and the Sound that could be Seen, of the Forest drowned by Sand and the trees that were time stilled waters he told them about the Slow Children and the Magic Duvet and the Well Travelled Country, and they believed all of it They learned of distant times and long ago places, of who they were and what they weren t, and of what had and what had never been.Then every day was a week, each month a year A season was a decade and every year a life The older Prentice was a bit too morbid and clueless about girls for my taste, but this comes possibly from some uncomfortable memories of not acting much better when I was his age One of the central metaphors in the book is an old folk expression that explains the title of the book, as going the crow road means somebody has died There s also a defining moment when Prentice looks out a train window at a suburban grass field an image of desolation I had fastened onto, in my self pity, like a blood starved leech onto bruised flesh , a place he will revisit at a later date to experience an epiphany on how adversity makes us stronger, provided it doesn t kill us first in the process Prentice is not totally locked inside his own head, the novel has a lot of funny moments and poignant commentary on the issues of the day He refers to the first Iraq War as awar scripted by Heller from a story by Orvell, and somebody would be bombing their own airfield before too long, no doubtWe get some nostalgic glimpse of early computing in 1990, with buggy floppy discs and obscure text editors that are incompatible with one another We get some great Star Wars trivia from a boy obsessed with mind controlling Jedi forcing the adults to go his own way We get a great list of soundtrack options like The Pixies, Morrissey, REM, Faith No More, Deacon Blue with Born in a Storm , to which I would add my own favorites like The Pogues, The Beautful South, Belle and Sebastian We get a great quote from Kenneth on being always skeptical of authority figuresPeople can be teachers and idiots they can be philosophers and idiots they can be politicians and idiots in fact I think they have to be a genius can be an idiot The world is largely run for and by idiots it is no great handicap in life and in certain areas is actually a distinct advantage and even a prerequisite for advancement The West Coast of Scotland really comes alive in the novel I put a couple of places on my bucket list, like the Hebrides hailed as the place people go to escape from the holiday industry, orthat bit north of Tighnabruaich, where you can look out over the Kyles of Bute That s a nice bit of sceneryThe language may be offputting in its dialect expressionsDinnae greet, laddystands for don t cry, young man , but this is not the first Scot novel I ve read, and I had no trouble following the script Let s see, what else The drinking of course I have only recently started drinking single matls from Scotland myself, and the novel provided a lot of entertainment in this particular passion, given that all the characters, regardless of age, sex and political colour imbibe of the stuff with reckless abandon The best scene for me describes the Hogmanay tradition, that is kind of like trick or treating with alcohol instead of candy, on the pretext of visiting friends and relatives on New Year.The novel is one of those that don t flow quite as smoothly as I would like I already mentioned the romance angle, and I would add a crime investigation that felt forced and contrived , but also one that grows on you after finishing and make good material for a re read at leisure I was aiming for a four star rating, but looking at all the quotes and ideas I bookmarked for future reference, I realize how much I got out of the story in the end I will close with a fragment of modern verse from the pen of Uncle Rory, because it brilliantly resumes the novel and I feel we could all do with a bit of poetry after all that heavy proseAll your nonsense and truths, your finery and squalid options,combine and coalesce, to one noiseincluding laugh and whimper, scream and sigh,forever and forever repeating,in any tongue we care to choose,whatever lessened, separated messagewe want to hear.It all boils down to nothing,and where we have the means and will to fixour reference within that flux there we are.If it has any final signal,The universe says simply,but with every possible complication, Existence ,and it neither pressures us, nor draws us out,except as we allow.Let me be part of that outrageous chaos And I am Damn, this book was terrific I don t know why I didn t stumble across it earlier, given it was published in 1992 and was adapted by the BBC as a miniseries in 1996 oh wait the 90 s were the years that got eaten by my professional career the mindless TV years Anyway, no matter It was the day my grandmother exploded Any author with the balls to have that as an opening sentence deserves to be given a chance, at least Banks keeps up the brilliance for another 500 pages, drawing you Damn, this book was terrific I don t know why I didn t stumble across it earlier, given it was published in 1992 and was adapted by the BBC as a miniseries in 1996 oh wait the 90 s were the years that got eaten by my professional career the mindless TV years Anyway, no matter It was the day my grandmother exploded Any author with the balls to have that as an opening sentence deserves to be given a chance, at least Banks keeps up the brilliance for another 500 pages, drawing you in to the story of three Scottish families with a complicated, interlocked history Young Prentice McHoan is a pretty irresistible first person narrator, so that it s a pleasure to accompany him as he navigates his last year at college, trying to come to terms with his various preoccupations death, drink, sex, God, illegal substances, and whatever happened to Uncle Rory who disappeared a decade earlier It takes four funerals, a wedding, and immeasurable amounts of whisky, but in between hangovers Prentice is pretty smart, and pieces it all together for an ending that is maybe a little too neat, but is definitely satisfying.Two minor aspects of Banks s style could be a little offputting to some readers, but it s well worth the effort to keep reading There s a fair amount of Scottish dialect, mainly dialog, though it s reasonably easy to figure out Also, Banks alternates between Prentice s first person narrative and an omniscient third person narrator, with frequent switches of timeframe across the generations This is confusing for about the first 100 pages, until you get all the main characters straight in your head, after which it ceases to be an issue Great story with complex, believable characters, brilliantly written What s not to love It was the day my grandmother exploded When you start a book with this sentence, you have definitely got the reader hooked and you will keep her with you throughout, provided you can keep the momentum.Iain Banks pulls it off smoothly.This is the tale of the McHoan clan of Gallanch a gifted, eccentric and somehow cursed Scottish family, told mostly through the eyes of young Prentice McHoan As the novel begins, we see him going through the angst of a young man at the beginning of the nine It was the day my grandmother exploded When you start a book with this sentence, you have definitely got the reader hooked and you will keep her with you throughout, provided you can keep the momentum.Iain Banks pulls it off smoothly.This is the tale of the McHoan clan of Gallanch a gifted, eccentric and somehow cursed Scottish family, told mostly through the eyes of young Prentice McHoan As the novel begins, we see him going through the angst of a young man at the beginning of the nineties estranged from his father, jealous of his successful elder brother Lewis, hopelessly in love with his cousin by marriage Verity, and totally lost as to what to do with his life Even though nobody knows it, the world is on the verge of the First Gulf War, and the tapestry of fragile international relations are about to be torn for ever.The explosion of the grandmother, of course, is just a plot device to pull the reader in It is explained by the end of the first chapter itself, and there is nothing fantastic about it but it sets the tone for this brilliantly fractured kaleidoscope of a tale The eccentric grandma who fell from the tree to her death is only one of the abnormal demises which seems to regularly plague the McHoans As Prentice says, it seems he returns to the house only for deaths.Prentice s father Kenneth is a teller of tales for children He s an atheist, and is not at all happy that his son has taken up the strange religion, based on the Bible, invented by his elder brother Hamish The extremely thin skinned Prentice cannot stomach his father s criticism, so he stays away Prentice s elder brother Lewis is a successful stand up comedian his younger brother James is still at school Apart from the uncle Hamish mentioned earlier and his wife Antonia, Prentice s immediate family has onemale member, his uncle Rory Kenneth s younger brother who has been missing for years when the story starts his Aunt Ilsa who is a globe trotter and Aunt Fiona, who has been dead since when Prentice was eleven years old.Apart from the McHoans, this is also the story of the Urvills landed gentry, who are related to the McHoans by marriage Fergus Urvill, the Lord of the Castle, was married to Prentice s Aunt Fiona They have two beautiful daughters Helen and Diane the household also consists of Verity Walker, Fergus Urvill s niece, who is the target of Prentice s hopeless infatuation.The third family which rounds up the dramatis personnae is the Watt family Lachly Watt, childhood friend of Fergus and Rory his niece Ashley and nephews Darren and Dean Darren, too, like so many in this novel, deceased at the beginning from an accident There is a strong undercurrent of companionship between Ashley and Prentice which could mutate into love if he lets go of his mooning for Verity.Up until the midpoint of the book, we are confused whether there is a story at all it s all just episodes of the mostly eccentric doings of the various characters the novelist holds our interest through his terrific turn of the phrase and his competence in spinning a yarn, though Suddenly in the middle, Prentice gets hold of a set of papers which are fragments of a novel the absent Rory was purportedly going to publish Rory already has a name as a travel writer, based on a best selling book on India he wrote as a young man but this is something sure to be muchexplosive But unfortunately, tantalising fragments are the only thing Prentice can find The novel is provisionally titled Crow Road, an actual address where Rory stayed with his girlfriend and also a euphemism for death, as popularised by Grandma McHoan he went the Crow Road meant the same as he kicked the bucket So Prentice s journey along the path trodden by his uncle is a symbolic descent into the netherworld Rory s death has been accepted by all, except Kenneth As Prentice discovers why, we slowly come to find that all is not as it seems on the surface Like the wild countryside that surrounds the protagonists, there are secrets and mysteries hidden within the history of the clan too This is a confusing novel to read, and a very difficult one to review The structure is purposefully fragmented the narrative leaps back and forth over time and space There is a pattern, which reveals itself very slowly, rewarding the reader who stays with the tale These were the days of fond promise, when the world was very still and there was magic in it He told them stories of the Secret Mountain and the Sound that could be Seen, of the Forest drowned by Sand and the trees that were time stilled waters he told them about the Slow Children and the Magic Duvet and the Well Travelled Country, and they believed all of it They learned of distant times and long ago places, of who they were and who they weren t, and of what had and what had never been Thus is Kenneth, the storyteller, introduced and thus too, the story of things which had been and had never been Among the Scottish glens, it seems difficult to separate the two It is the spirit of this atheist rationalist who loves to tell tall tales which moves this story, too mixed with that of the wanderer Rory The chapters alternate between the third person POVs of Kenneth and Rory and and the first person POV of Prentice, and the narrative moves in fits and jerks, the timeline starting at the end of the Second World War and ending as the Gulf war is ongoing.Is there a point to it Maybe not God, what did any of it matter, in the end You lived you died You were as indistinguishable from a distance as one of these blades of grass, and who was to sayimportant Growing, surrounded by your kin, you out living some, some out living you You didn t have to adjust the scale much, either, to reduce us to the distant irrelevance of this bedraggled field The grass was lucky if it grew, was shone upon and rained upon, and was not burned, and was not pulled up by the roots, or poisoned, or buried when the ground was turned over, and some bits just happened to be on a line that humans wanted to walk on, and so got trampled, broken, pressed flat, with no malice just effect Classic nihilism Yet Prentice does find purpose in being a blade of grass It is not coincidence that the novel which starts with a funeral ends in a christening and then I just stood there, grinning like a fool, and took a deep, deep breath of that sharp, smoke scented air and raised my arms to the open sky, and said, Ha Enchanting read It was the day my grandmother exploded I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach s Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach The Crow Road is the first novel by Iain Banks that I ve read, and it has one of the best and irresistible opening hooks ever it quite literally begins with a bang get it What other novel begins with the main character s dead grandmother exploding Iain Banks is a It was the day my grandmother exploded I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach s Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach The Crow Road is the first novel by Iain Banks that I ve read, and it has one of the best and irresistible opening hooks ever it quite literally begins with a bang get it What other novel begins with the main character s dead grandmother exploding Iain Banks is a Scottish writer who is probablyknown in the US for his science fiction, which he publishes as Iain M Banks using his adopted middle name, Menzies The Crow Road is one of the mainstream novels he publishes as Iain Banks, and one of his most beloved works The title is delivered from a supposedly old Scottish saying referring to death if you re away the crow road you re not going to be coming back.The novel s protagonist is Prentice McHoan, who returns from Glasgow to attend his grandmother s funeral held in his fictional hometown of Gallanah in Argyll and Bute, on the picturesque west coast of Scotland This is not the first loss in the family eight years ago Prentice s favorite uncle, Rory a bohemian travel writer, motorcyclist and author of a memoir chronicling his travels through India has left his home, taken his motorcycle and vanished without a trace When Prentice meets with his aunt Janice, Rory s partner at the time of his disappearance, he comes into posession of some of Rory s papers and computer diskettes He discovers that at the time of his disappearance Rory was working at a new project, titled you guessed The Crow Road Prentice thinks that in these documents lies the clue to solve his uncle s disappearance and decides to analyze them, not knowing that he might find outabout his family than he hoped for The novel resonated well with readers upon its publication in 1992, and in 1996 BBC produced and adaptation for the small screen, which was also very succesful.With this novel Iain Banks has proven himself to be a great storyteller who can handle a large cast of interesting, quirky characters each of which is distinctive and unique personal traits Banks creates a family which feels real, not scriped, and it s a delight to see his characters interact with one another Prentice is a student who is struggling to survive and find himself in the world, and is compelled to believe in some sort of a higher power Prentice cannot accept the fact that people simply cease to exist when they die he thinks that their consciousness somehow continues on This provokes a strain in relations with his father, Kenneth, a writer of books for children and a comitted nonbeliever, who denies the possibility of an afterlife and any universal purpose Luckily, there s Ashley, his childhood friend, and her uncle Lachlan Prentice s other uncle Fergus owns the local glassware factory and is an important figure in the town as the business made him very wealthy, and he lives in a grand castle Because of his travels and exotic experiences Uncle Rory has already been an enigmatic figure, and his mysterious disapparance only addsfuel to the Prentice s eagerness to find out what happened to him The McHoan family interacts with the Watts and Urvills, and each family has a different financial and social background, each as different as real people are from one another.Banks tells his story mostly through Prentice s eyes, employing him as the first person narrator and does an admirable job at creating a character who is sympathetic but also at times unlikable, who behaves like a jerk and is often not aware of things around him, but with whom we cannot help but sympathize, because we can remember full well how confused we were at one point in our lives or another Parts of novel are set in another timeline and told in the third person, letting the reader see the past of Prentice s family and its members present themselves, instead of being interpreted by someone else What could easily have ended up as a mess works perfectly and gives the reader aintimate insight into the storyline and the formation of its characters in particular his father Kenneth, whose stories about Scottish myths and legends capture the attention and minds of children Even though the sections are chronologially out of sequence they compliment one another, never feeling artificial, showing how times past haunt the times present.The Scottish setting is used to full extent here Banks has a real sense of the place he s writing about His Scotland is a place full of beauty and myth, even employing the obligatory imagery of castles, mountains and lochs without sounding tired and cliche, effortlessly presening the experience of growing up as a young lad in Scotland as unique and magical He certainly romanticizes it a bit, but does so without the descent to posh sentimentality he obviously remembers his own growing up in Dunfermline very well Characters even use a fair amount of Scottish dialect, none of which feels forced it contributes to their personalities and lets the dialogue flow smoothly, without sounding false There s also a fair amount of humor in this book, sometimes grim but also outrageously funny, such as Prentice s exploding grandmother who herself was quite a character Although the novel is full of death, it manages to walk the crow road with laughter, never truly losing its high spirit The Crow Road is a a long novel, not easily classified it is both a coming of age piece and also a sprawling family drama, concerned with several generations of several Scottish families This works perfectly fine until the last quarter, where it changes gears and focuses on becoming a mystery This is the section which I felt made it lose its dreamlike quality by interrupting the meditative ruminations on life and death, which I so enjoyed, and turning into a cat and mouse procedural While I thought that the ending was ultimately satisfying, I thought that the last section prevented the novel from completely coming together and disturbed its delicate balance which was done so well So, is The Crow Road worth reading Certainly I can now see why it is considered one of the author s best novels Iain Banks is a good storyteller who writes well, and despite my gripes with the concluding part which made me take down one star from the rating I enjoyed spending time with his characters and was captivated by his story It s absorbing, full of eccentic characters and situations which are both interesting and charming It is full of humor resulting from these characters and events, and despite its grim themes its also ultimately uplifting and hopeful It s world is full of small details which enrich it, and made reading its 500 pages no work at all It contains moments of beauty which will resonate with all readers These were the days of fond promise, when the world was very small and there was still magic in it He told them stories of the Secret Mountain and the Sound that could be Seen, of the Forest drowned by Sand and the trees that were time stilled waters he told them about the Slow Children and the Magic Duvet and the Well Travelled Country, and they believed all of it They learned of distant times and long ago places, of who they were and what they weren t, and of what had and what had never been.Then, every day was a week, each month a year A season was a decade, and every year a life. If you want a completely absorbing, wickedly funny Scottish family saga full of often bizarre, complexly f ed up intrigue and sibling rivalry etc, look no further, likesay, ye ken Did I ever tell you about the time I used to be able to make televisions go wonky, from far away It was a bright and warm day, back in that same summer Rory had come out to the Hebrides with us Rory and I were walking near Gallanach, going from the marked rocks in one field to the stone circle in another I remembe If you want a completely absorbing, wickedly funny Scottish family saga full of often bizarre, complexly f ed up intrigue and sibling rivalry etc, look no further, likesay, ye ken Did I ever tell you about the time I used to be able to make televisions go wonky, from far away It was a bright and warm day, back in that same summer Rory had come out to the Hebrides with us Rory and I were walking near Gallanach, going from the marked rocks in one field to the stone circle in another I remember I had a pain in my side that day and I was worrying that it was appendicitis one of the boys in my class that year had almost died when his appendix had ruptured It was just a stitch, though Uncle Rory was a fast walker and I d been intent on keeping up with him my appendix waited another year before it needed taking out We had been visiting some of the ancient monuments in the area, and had started talking about what the people who d built the cairns and stone circles had believed in, and that had led us on to astrology Then suddenly he mentioned this thing about televisions Making them go wonky I said No Well, Rory said, then turned and looked behind us We stood up on the verge as a couple of cars passed us It was hot I took off my jacket Well, Rory repeated, I was a few years older than you are now, I guess I was over at a friend s house, and there was a bunch of us watching Top of the Pops or something, and I was humming along with a record I hit a certain deep note, and the TV screen went wavy Nobody else said anything, and I wondered if it was just coincidence, so I tried to do it again, and after a bit of adjusting I hit the right note and sure enough, the screen went wavy again Still nobody said anything Rory laughed at the memory He was wearing jeans and T shirt and carried a light jacket over his shoulder Well, I didn t want to make a fool of myself, so I didn t say anything I thought maybe it just worked on that one particular television set, so I tried it at home and it still happened The effect seemed to work from quite a distance, too When I stood out in the hall and looked into the lounge, it was still there, stronger than ever Then we were going up to Glasgow, mum and I, and we were passing a shop window full of TVs, and so I tried this new gift for messing up TV screens on them, and hummed away to myself, and all the screens went wild And I was thinking Great, I really can do magic The effect is getting stronger I could appear on TV and do this Maybe it would make everybody s screens go weird Wow, I said, wanting to get home and try this myself So, Rory said I stopped in my tracks and I asked mum I said, Mum watch this Watch those screens And I hummed for all I was worth, and the pictures on the screens went wavy And mum just looked at me and said, What And I did it again, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn t get her to see the effect Eventually she got fed up with me and told me to stop being silly I had screens going mental in every TV shop we passed in Glasgow that day, but nobody else seemed to be able to see it Rory grimaced, looking across the edge of the plain beyond Gallanach to the little rocky hill that stuck up from the flat fields Now, I wish I could remember just what it was that made the penny drop, but I can t I mean, usually a beautiful assistant says something stupid and the clever scientist says, Say that again and then comes up with the brilliant plan that s going to save the world as we know itbut as far as I remember it just came to me What I said Rory grinned down at me Vibrations, he said Vibrations Yeah The vibrations I was setting up in my own skull actually in the eyeball, I suppose were making my eyes vibrate at about the same frequency as the TV screen flickers So the screen looked funny, but only to me, that was the point And it made sense that the further away you were from the screen as long as you could still make it out, of course thepronounced the effect would appear He looked down at me You see Yeah, I said, I think so I studied the road for a bit, then looked up, disappointed So it doesn t really work after all Rory shook his head Not the way I thought it did, no, he said It was the day my grandmother exploded I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach s Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach Prentice McHoan has returned to the bosom of his complex but enduring Scottish family Full of questions about the McHoan past, present and future, he is also deeply preoccupied mainly with death, sex, drink, God and illegal substances The story is told mainly by Prentice McHoan who having returned to Scotland is reunited with his very different and complex family Prentice tells tales of the family past, present and future all the time being preoccupied with mainly death, sex, drink, God and illegal substances.This is an entertaining read and full of humorous stories.I would like to thank Net Galley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for supplying a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Crow Road It was the day my Grandmother exploded I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach s Mass in B minor and reflected that it was always death that brought me back to Gallanach.The Crow Road is the first book I have read by the author, Iain Banks The story is told mostly by the protagonist Prentice McHoan I could not make my mind up if this book was a family drama or a murder mystery The charact This is the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Crow Road It was the day my Grandmother exploded I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach s Mass in B minor and reflected that it was always death that brought me back to Gallanach.The Crow Road is the first book I have read by the author, Iain Banks The story is told mostly by the protagonist Prentice McHoan I could not make my mind up if this book was a family drama or a murder mystery The characters are interesting, especially Kenneth This is a mixture of sibling rivalry, politics and religious beliefs The pace is fast There are a lot of characters but they all have have a part to play.I would like to thank NetGalley, Little Brown Book Group UK and the author Iain Banks for my ARC in exchange for an honest review Moving back and forth through time occasionally laying bare the souls of some characters For me, it was all about Prentice sorting through his personal strategies to life He likes to think of himself as an individual who stands on principles, shakey though they may sometimes be If only his concepts of love and jealousy didn t get in his way Egotistical and witty, a kind of hero in the making a spying voyeur hidden in the shadows, sometimes in rare moments slipping into silence After inges Moving back and forth through time occasionally laying bare the souls of some characters For me, it was all about Prentice sorting through his personal strategies to life He likes to think of himself as an individual who stands on principles, shakey though they may sometimes be If only his concepts of love and jealousy didn t get in his way Egotistical and witty, a kind of hero in the making a spying voyeur hidden in the shadows, sometimes in rare moments slipping into silence After ingesting just the right amount of substances he will leap in to dance and save others A young man of many guises in his silk moebius scarf Experiencing the deaths of several family members he imagines he can quick jump over such obstacles And, what do we learn of what he learns How to temper his wild ideas with a hint of common sense, to take emotional risks, to find release in loud moans and howls, and to come to terms with the crow road As to sharing his feelings for Ashley thanks to my own stupidity, my hesitation, my indecision, my negligence I d missed it, and that too was gone from me, over Or is it This story wins the day with humor, fresh dialogue, and summary sentences that glow in their beauty There is a fantastic ending that includes a pelvic floor Morse code message and a completely satisfying final word Great book


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