** spoiler alert **
This book underlines for me how hard it is to write a great novel. Banks is a talented writer. An excellent storyteller. He tackles great subjects. He also annoyed me greatly with his repeated pronouncements of the greatness of his work. His characters are well-painted but flawed in their obviousness. They are all stereotypes. The final sentence "Go forth, my book, and destroy the world." irks me. Banks couldnt get someone else to write the forward or commentary? Also could stand the main character. Another self-absorbed selfish jerk using self pity to justify horrible behavior.
I enjoyed the book and respected Banks as a writer but he didn't reach the greatness he seems to believe he attained.