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Walking on Glass

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  3,349 ratings  ·  117 reviews
Graham Park is in love. But Sara ffitch is an enigma to him, a creature of almost perverse mystery. Steven Grout is paranoid - and with justice. He knows that They are out to get him. They are. Quiss, insecure in his fabulous if ramshackle castle, is forced to play interminable impossible games. The solution to the oldest of all paradoxical riddles will release him. But he ...more
Paperback, 341 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Abacus (Little,Brown) (first published 1985)
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When things are bad there is always hope. At least that’s what we’re told. We grow up believing that hope is one of the single most important emotions a human can feel. It is connected to the human spirit, and we are told that hope is what allows that spirit to rise above those things that would destroy us. But is it possible that there is something flawed in that equation? Could it be that the human spirit is actually found in the antithesis of hope?

I think it is. I think the human spirit is fo
Iain (M.) Banks se caracteriza por ser un escritor cuyas tramas necesitan de una plena implicación por parte del lector. Le gusta jugar con la manera de narrar una historia, utilizando estructuras complejas, flashbacks, diferentes líneas argumentales que terminan confluyendo... Hay veces que le funciona mejor que otras; algunas de sus novelas me hubiesen gustado más si simplemente se hubiera dedicado a contar la historia linealmente. Esto no quiere decir que no me gusten los retos, los tour de f ...more
Only for Banks completists. He was evidently dissatisfied with this book, and rewrote it as The Bridge. The second version is far superior, in fact arguably his best novel. The first is not more than so-so.

I did however like the hero's encounter with the irritating little imp. He wants to know how to get out of the labyrinth, and the imp says that it either tells the truth all the time, or lies all the time. The hero can't be bothered to construct the question that solves this tired old logical
Dec 07, 2008 Dave rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kafka-ites, Surrealists,
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This one's going to have me thinking for a while...

Banks' 'Walking on Glass' is the telling of three stories, the main theme of which seems to be with how the easiest of circumstances can make you... well, mad.

I know there are a lot of different takes on this book, but to me the characters of Graham, Grout and Quiss seem to represent different periods of time in a person's life, and with them the key themes of love, employment and age which, when the odds are against them, leave the respective c
I own nine Iain and Iain M. Banks novels, but the only one I have ever gotten around to reading is Walking on Glass. I'm not exactly sure why this has been the case, as I quite liked WOG and its clever, inventive tripartite plot. The Gormenghast flavorings of the most mysterious of the three story lines—a monstrously sprawling, labyrinthine castle (replete with stunted, chitterling servants), apparently erected in a wintry, occluded dimension in some null-zone of spacetime, which functions as a ...more
Jun 27, 2011 Felonious rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults
Shelves: dark, topshelf
I'm kind of in the middle of a Banks binge, trying to get a few of his non M books read (Iain Banks = fiction, Iain M. Banks = SciFi).

This is the first non M book that I think could have been an “M”. Walking on Glass has three stories that come together towards the end. The first story is about a man walking to the house of the woman he loves to tell her how he feels. Along the way he recalls moments he spent with her and how he felt at the time, he is walking on air. The second story is about
Sep 06, 2008 holy_fire rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Iain Banks fans
Shelves: 1985, banks-iain, fiction
an early novel by Iain Banks

short plot description: we follow three seemingly unrelated stories. Graham Park is head-over-heels in love but the object of his affections keeps him at arms length. Steven Grout is suffering from paranoid delusions and thinks he is an alien participant of a galactic war exiled to and kept on Earth by "Them". Quiss and Ajayi were on opposing sides in the "Therapeutic Wars" but are exiled to a castle for doing something wrong. They can only escape when they find the c
I have marked this book as fantasy, but it is not easy to class, as it is actually three novellas in one, with enough links to keep them close, but still very separate.

The first one is a story of love in current (when written) London. I consider it the best written, though the story is predictable and well known, if twisted.

The second one is disturbing, presenting an involving tale of what it is to be a clinically insane, but as this is Banks, the hint that may be he is sane after all. It also
My introduction to Iain Banks was through his dazzling debut novel, The Wasp Factory. Then I read as much of his novels as I could find, including this one. I picked up Walking On Glass again recently and found the original sale receipt I’d used as a bookmark. It was twenty years old.

Time indeed changes everything. The first thing that struck me on rereading this novel was how amateur the writing seemed in parts – the amount of “telling” rather than “showing”, the lame dialogue, the overuse of m
Clive Thompson
The characters are all of student age, all have different difficulties in life, mentally, and all live separate lives. The meeting of characters brings into play their inter reaction with, sometimes,surprising, consequences. The novel is building up to a bizarre and unexpected ending. Once absorbed, you have to reach the end as the outcome must be within your grasp. Mustn't it? This is Banks in the heads of young adults who are full of the fears of their times, be it, a fear of not being loved, ...more
I love Iain Banks but am not so fond of Iain M. Banks, and this book felt as though the latter was influencing the former. As with The Song of Stone, this was an iffy book for me.

There are three intertwined stories here, although we don't learn how they mingle until the last part. First, there's Graham, in love with Sara (who is escaping her marriage, is also involved with Strokes - a biker - and keeps Graham at semi-arms-length). Second, there's Steven, an ASD (before that term existed) hoarder
Innes Ferguson
According to another reader's review, Banks was ultimately dissatisfied with this book and rewrote it as The Bridge. If true, then that's quite interesting. Like the other reviewer I found The Bridge a superior novel.

The tripartite structure of the book is technically interesting but I didn't find the parts strong enough to stand on their own and nor did I find the connections between the parts all that accomplished or intriguing.

I recommend all of my favourite Banks novels to friends and family
Gary Letham
This was the third Iain Banks novel I've read, and the the most disappointing so far for me. Three seeming disparate stories weave their tales through the pages. Two of them, set in a contemporary universe are relatively engaging. The third however, set in a prison castle in an unknown future, proved to me quite irritating. The style doesn't sit well with the other two tales, and whilst all three stories almost combine, they miss the mark by a long way in overall reading pleasure. This may be yo ...more
When I finished this book I threw it aside in disgust. Not metaphorically mind, the book left my hands and dented some drywall. I almost gave up on Banks for it.

But I couldn't stop thinking about it. Weeks, months later snippets, passages, elements of it popped unbidden into my head, demanding further consideration. It's often said that a book makes you think but this is one of few I've read that literally forces thought upon you; this book is not so much a mindfuck as a mindrape.
Jen Davis Lance
"Walking on Glass" is about the intersection of three lives: Steven Groat, a mentally unstable man who's just quit his job; Graham Park, a young artist who is about to found out something earth shattering about the woman he loves; Quiss, a warrior who has been sentenced to an indefinite stay at the Castle of Bequest and must play impossible games and solve an unanswerable riddle if he ever hopes to return home. What could these three diverse persons, not even on the same planet, possibly have to ...more
I haven't finished a book in two months. There have been many things involved, but more often than not...less than satisfying narratives.

This changed that. Well written and quirky enough to satisfy my yearning for the "unique." Granted, some connections are tenuous, others ridiculous, but the prose buoyed the narrative through it.

I look forward to exploring the works of Mr. Banks further.

David Golden
Brilliantly muddled or brilliant and muddled?

The answer depends on how surreal you like your fiction. Either way, the writing itself is stupendous. The three tales – three quest stories, really – are wildly different in plot and style yet oddly similar in a way I would struggle to articulate. I felt perplexed when I finished the book, but it's growing on me as I reflect on it.
This is an odd book.
As an author, Iain Banks eventually published his SciFi books under the name Iain M. Banks. And this book feels more like one of his "M" offerings than a regular one.
It is comprised of three stories that have a loose link, but this is not revealed until the very end. And I am not completely sure that I have interpreted correctly exactly what was going on, which is ultimately why I found this book rather frustrating. The first storyline was actually strong enough for a book
Mark Speed
Banks's second novel. For some people this might have been a disappointment compared to the The Wasp Factory. However, we can see the author stretching his wings - and his imagination - as he weaves three different stories together. We can also see the sci-fi author longing to break out of his chrysalis (to continue the metaphor). There are some nice psychological insights in here, and I was lucky enough to ask Banks in person about this (BBC World Book Club). The OCD that Steven Grout suffers f ...more
Elinor Walters
Enjoyed the book immensely, but disappointed with the ending.
This is the second time I've read this. The first time was in the late 80s when I discovered Banks through The Wasp Factory and then read everything he'd written up to that point. I've gone on reading the more mainstream Iain Banks books as they come out, more or less, although I haven't kept up with the sci fi of Iain M. Banks. Most of them I recall quite clearly, but this one I didn't remember at all.

There are three subplots coming together to collide at the end. There's geeky Graham, who's f
(2.5 stars) This was the first Iain (M.) Banks that I read, on the recommendation of some rave reviews of his other books. Admittedly, I picked this particular one because the book was physically small enough to fit in my carry-on.

The first quarter of the book was promising, setting up several disparate and individually interesting threads. I was looking forward to seeing how they ended up being woven together. But then, the remainder of the book more or less repeated the first segment of each o
Althea Ann
This was Iain Banks' 2nd published novel (1985), after 'The Wasp Factory.'
It's really 3 separate stories, which are only-sort-of interconnected. That is, there are some references, recurring motifs, etc, but I didn't think they reflected on one another as much as they could have. Even Banks has, said, reportedly, the book "didn’t do exactly what it set out to do and I think you have failed to an extent if the reader can’t understand what you’re saying."
I don't think it was incomprehensible, I ju

¿Qué sucede cuando una fuerza imparable se encuentra con un objeto inmóvil?

Pasos sobre el Cristal fue el segundo libro de Banks en ser publicado, y por lo que estuve investigando, pasó sin pena ni gloria.

La estructura de la novela se basa en la interposición de tres historias sin una aparente conexión entré sí; casi paralelas, llegan a un punto, hacia el final, en la qu ... (continuar)

Pasos sobre el Cristal fue el segundo libro de Banks en ser publicado, y por lo que estuve investigando, pas
Alice Lee
It was disjointed, choppy, and disorienting. Like Mr. Banks took three separate stories, threw it in a blender, pulsed for a few seconds and called that a novel. I'm sure that's how he intends it to be, though.

I lost interest about half way through, having been charmed by none of the characters. But I kept reading diligently, because if experience of Mr. Banks has served me well - even if the only other book by him I've read was Wasp Factory - then there's very likely one of those "Ooooh! Everyt

Three apparently unrelated stories alternate here – two realistic (or apparently so), one highly fantastical. The last is by far the most compelling, amply demonstrating the extraordinary power of Banks’ imagination and inventiveness. As the book progresses, it also starts shedding light on the other two.

The story of Graham’s unhappy pursuit of the elusive Sara ffitch is also reasonably absorbing, though the cruel twist at the end seems very contrived. But wait! - is it meant to seem contrived b
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in June 2003.

Though the prose is recognisably by the same writer, Iain Banks' second novel is very different from the first.The Wasp Factory is about psychology, particularly concerning itself with the boundary between sanity and madness and the origins of religious ritual; it is basically a straightforward first person narrative in structure. Psychology is still a part of Walking on Glass (paranoia, whether deluded or not, plays an important role), but the s
Peter West
This is the first Iain Banks that book I have read and I admit I know nothing of his work, other than that he wrote the wasp factory. I have to wonder if having that written on everything he has done since annoys the hell out of him. Anyway, on with the review. This book uses the notion of separate threads coming together - peoples lives becoming entwined. Each of the threads (people) is interesting and well written in itself. How he combines these into the overall plot is... odd. Maybe that is ...more
Iain Banks certainly has quite a dark side to him. Yet, in the same book, he can also be wildly imaginative, and "Walking on Glass" is just that.

It was a quick read and there isn't really a "plot" per se, but I find his writing style addictive and fluid, so I read on into the early hours of the morning (or the late hours of the night, depending how you want to look at it). The point is, he got me reading and no matter what mood I was in, I couldn't seem to put the damn thing down.

Banks has an
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Iain Banks / Iain...: Walking on Glass 1 16 Aug 14, 2012 12:48AM  
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This author also published science fiction under the pseudonym Iain M. Banks.

Banks's father was an officer in the Admiralty and his mother was once a professional ice skater. Iain Banks was educated at the University of Stirling where he studied English Literature, Philosophy and Psychology. He moved to London and lived in the south of England until 1988 when he returned to Scotland, living in Edi
More about Iain Banks...
The Wasp Factory The Crow Road Complicity The Bridge Whit

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