The Crow Road

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 17 Nov 2017

Member Reviews

The Crow Road is very much a classic these days, one of Banks's best-loved books. From its opening line, "It was the day my grandmother exploded" you are swept up in Prentice's quest to understand what happened to his uncle. It's funny, poignant, and entirely encapsulates Scotland at the start of the 90s, with all its acerbic humour, and is full of gloriously larger-than-life characters. Nothing I say is going to do justice to it - it may not be Banks's greatest novel (actually, I'd find it really hard to say which is, there are so many to choose from) but it's an absolute must-read, and if you're interested in Scotland, one which captures the zeitgeist.
Was this review helpful?
An inimitable classic, A plethora of characters in an entangled extended family, Banks writes with depth and credibility so much so that the reader is drawn into the story at a slow and enjoyable pace. Highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
Has aged very well - an earlyish Banks and one that combines his esoteric writing skills with a solid thriller/mystery plot.
Was this review helpful?
The Crow Road is a modern classic produced by one of the greats of modern fiction. A retrospective on Iain M Banks work appeared in Starburst's Podcast, Brave NEw Words and this work was repeatedly referred to during the podcast.
Was this review helpful?
What can I say? This book is a classic! It goes backwards and forwards in time focusing on the family of Prentice McHoan. It's a very long book and did take me a few months to go through but I would recommend giving this a read!
Was this review helpful?
An absolute classic worthy of its continued status on book lists. The narrative creates mystery at every turn.
Was this review helpful?
A fantastic read. Thoroughly enjoyed this and it is not something I would usually pick up. Will look for more from this author in future.
Was this review helpful?
Another fantastic book by Iain Banks! A coming-of-age story given greater resonance with multiple characters' viewpoints, and over different time periods. Though written in 1992, it hasn't dated at all.
Was this review helpful?
It has been said before but Iain starts this novel with a particularly memorable line: “It was the day my grandmother exploded”. This starts with Prentice who has fallen out with his father Kenneth. His uncle Rory is a professional traveller and sometime magician who has disappeared. Ultimately a detective story jumping back and forth in time.  A classic which I enjoyed re-reading.
Was this review helpful?
Loved it on a second reading. Wonderfully evocative of the period and reads almost nostalgically today.
Was this review helpful?
A Scottish, family saga covering generations mainly from the viewpoint of Prentice Mchoan, recently returned home. I found the continual jumping from one time frame to another confusing at times and the book was very long. Some very good points and some mediocre, overall an interesting story
Was this review helpful?
The 25th Anniversary edition of The Crow Road provides an insight to Iain Banks earlier writing.  I have to admit to not reading this previously, and I found it to be an interesting coming of age story of life, death, sex, drugs and everything in between. 

It flicks backwards and forwards in time and has its quite bizarre moments, yet from the first line - It was the day my grandmother exploded -  I realised this book was going to be different, an alternative read, one might say.   What really happened in The Crow Road, when uncle Rory disappeared?  

I honestly do not know why I had not picked this one up before! Admittedly this is a strange story surrounding the family and drama of Prentice McHoan; a complex family with much to share. It will have you feeling a wide mixture of feelings from laugh out loud moments to ewwww! I think I'm going to puke!  How many books do you think can do that, these days?  It is bleak and depressing at times, just like the Scottish Highlands in winter...  but even so, both have captivating and distinctive views like no other.
Was this review helpful?
I am glad I eventually got to read an Iain Banks offering.
Let’s not beat around the bush, the writing is plane and simply brilliant. The imagery is out of this world (yes, I have been mentally planning a trip to Scotland that actually involves a bit more than just seeing the larger cities, but perhaps exploring the Argyll and Bute region and even the Hebrides if we can. Oh and of course that would involve a whisky or two). Additionally, the way Banks explores and details what is often considered peripheral in nature is quite exquisite.

I do appreciate the way that Prentices struggles with finding his place in the world was portrayed, through the clichéd ‘drugs, sex, and alcohol’, but also through philosophy, relationships, and family. I however did think it extreme at times. I mean I am no prude, but I was taken aback at how blasé some of the heavier substance abuse was portrayed (ok, perhaps I am sounding a bit naïve, but it felt that it was really not necessary). It was not lost on me how the two generations (Kenneth’s and Prentices) were indirectly compared to one another when it came to these coming of age experiences (the complete innocence of the earlier generation, versus the massive pressures of the next), but I still felt it a little over the top.

Anyway, all in all a great read.
Thank you NetGalley and Little Brown Book Group for a review copy.
Was this review helpful?
I did struggle with Crow Road. It's one of Iain Banks's earlier novels, and it shows. I did enjoy The Bridge, which came out before, but that was focussed on story - Crow Road is heavily character based, where the action is minimal, and the whodunnit doesn't really start until three-quarters of the way through, and then fizzles out as fast as it started.

My problem with this novel is the over-writing - long rambling sections, which though well written, drag on and on. Likewise, the first-person point of view is littered with throw-away "aren't I clever" lines, which eventually become tedious. By the half-way point, I found myself skimming paragraphs, and eventually, I was flicking over pages.

That said, the writing is good, and if viewed as the early work of a master, still has bits of interest to keep the reader going.

Book kindly supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
It was ok i guess. It took me absolutely ages to trawl through it because i constantly lost interest and found something better to do.
Was this review helpful?
Iain Banks books are always compelling and this did not disappoint.  Another classic.
Was this review helpful?
An absolute classic - Iain Banks never lets you down.
Was this review helpful?
Although hard to get into, this is compelling, if you enjoy this type of fiction, There is a mystery, many complex relationships and strange occurrences. It jumps between the past and present, which makes it difficult to follow. 

I didn't read all of this very long book because it didn't engage me enough to invest the time. I recognise it's appeal for those who like quirky stories and characters in a dark setting. Regarding the ethos and dark humour it reminded me a little of the TV programme, 'Six Feet Under'. 

I received a copy of this  25th Anniversary book from Little, Brown Book Group UK Abacus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately I've started this 5 times and just can't get into it. The writing style isn't for me but I can absolutely understand why it's popular and I'm going to buy a copy for my uncle as I'm sure he'll love it.
Was this review helpful?
This is a fantastic book which shows off the amazing and sadly missed talent. Packed with humour, love hate  and despair this is worth rereading time and again.
Was this review helpful?