Snotchocheez's Reviews > A Song of Stone

A Song of Stone by Iain Banks
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Feb 17, 11

Read from February 16 to 17, 2011


(3.5 stars)

I read this as a Iain Banks-introductory first course before one day tackling his acclaimed first novel "The Wasp Factory". "A Song of Stone" is the only Banks novel our library offers, so (despite many warnings I've read online saying "'A Song of Stone' should not be the first book you read of Banks' work") I chose this book to get my feet wet.

I think maybe I should've heeded the warnings: this is one exasperating novel. The (somewhat thin) apocalyptic story line is all but drowned out with a cascade of overly verbose verbiage. Banks' storytelling command, however, begs you to wade through the bleak dream-like mood piece-y poetic claptrap and get to the essence of the tale:

A lord and lady of a castle (in an unspecified locale, though somewhere in the rural countryside) are forced into a mass exodus during (an unspecified) wartime; a (female) lieutenant of a ragtag band of soldiers pulls out the lord and lady from the throng of countryside denizens and forces them back to the castle in hopes of making it a wartime stronghold. That's about it for plot. With this whisper-thin germ of an idea, however, Banks transforms it into something much greater, with far-reaching significance.

Oh, and then there's that ewwwww-inducing, jaw-dropping denouement (where the hero becomes...um...not so heroic) (anything more said about that would certainly be a spoiler). Despite all the convoluted prose, Banks churned out a (diseased) classic, and has certainly whetted my interest for his other works.
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