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The Quarry

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  4,555 ratings  ·  510 reviews
Kit doesn’t know who his mother is. What he does know, however, is that his father, Guy, is dying of cancer.

Feeling his death is imminent, Guy gathers around him his oldest friends – or at least the friends with the most to lose by his death.

Paul – the rising star in the Labour party who dreads the day a tape they all made at university might come to light; Alison and Robb
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published June 20th 2013 by Little, Brown
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Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,555 ratings  ·  510 reviews

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Reading Corner
Mar 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book was such a disappointment, I've only read one other of Iain Bank's book which was The Wasp Factory which I thought was fantastic but this one is depressingly boring.This book took me ages to read due to my lack of time but even when I had the time it was almost painful picking it back up.I really regret wasting my time trying to enjoy this book when I should have gave up on it ages ago.

The plot is so simplistic and just incredibly boring, barely anything happens.I found all the charact
Ann Rawson
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Barry Cunningham
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of his best 'serious' novels (as opposed to Sci-Fi, which I love even more) sadly it was his last , I think, taken from us at the age of 59 after losing his battle with cancer. Again he has a book that successfully delves into the minds and behaviours of a range of central characters. A masterpiece of observation and the written word. I love his books, every single one of them. This is no less wonderful.
Andrew Smith
Nov 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-finished
I'd been hanging on to this novel as, like everyone, I was shocked by the author's recent death, following a short illness. I knew that the book dealt with the death of one of the characters under spookily similar circumstances to that of Banks himself and I wanted a decent interval to pass before I felt comfortable picking this one up. I've loved several of his books, including Dead Air which is one of my all time favourites. But I just couldn't warm to this at all. It felt like a growing group ...more
last Iain Banks novel; while not really a fan of his "mainstream" novels, this one is a must read for obvious reasons and starts actually quite engaging and interesting and promises a lot

a little bit to my surprise I found myself getting back to The Quarry and finally reading it twice as it is a seemingly quiet book that really grows on you

while in his last poignant interview - - Mr. Banks said that were he to know about the cancer, he would have tried to
Steven Naude
Jul 21, 2013 rated it liked it
This was my first Banks encounter and I was expecting a lot and had no knowledge of any of this previous work. It reminded me of one of those 1950s American plays of great intensity by Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller or Eugene O'Neill - a family gathers in one room and over the space of two hours they haul out the dark secrets and through tears, cursing, accusations and several litres of alcohol they leave relationships in tatters and the mother in tears. Banks does the modern version - someth ...more
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
So loved this last book. Kit reminded me a little of Frankie from The Wasp Factory and the relationship between the other characters of The Crow Road.
The reader can almost hear the author's own thoughts via Guy and his comedic rants about life and death. Loved it. The world is a lesser place without you Mr Banks.
Jul 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, present
It is impossible to dissociate the book from what happened to Banks himself. How can you, when the narrator's father is dying from runaway cancer, and a good part of the book is getting to term with it, as well as various rants and lists of best things... As such I suppose it may be some kind of last words, though clearly fixed in the present days. As such it is a book firmly set in 2012-2013, set against the author's death in June 2013, of runaway cancer.

As usual the characters are well drawn a
Jan 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
I had no idea what to expect from this book so I thought I'll be open to whatever it brings me. What I did not expect were meaningless dialogues, characters who are but a bunch of loosers who have nothing of interest to share with me, no plot whatsoever, and no surprises/twists/plot turns or whatever.

There were a couple of characters I thought I might like to follow along. Kit, a young man with a dying father and a mother he never met, does sound interesting. And his dying father could be a sou
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I have good memories of reading Iain Banks. It struck me emotionally when i learned of his illness, and then his death. This was on a clearance shelf a few days ago in a shop in Belgrade, so I grabbed it.

I read it feeling conflicted.

It is a familiar theme, university friends gathering for dying friend: how many films have been devoted to this taking stock of one's life--surrounded by those so dear at such an exciting time? Banks uses a protagonist with Asperger's to avoid the pitfalls of grief
Oct 07, 2015 rated it liked it
EDIT: I've just slapped another star on because I've read so much shit in the last year, it has put things back into perspective for me.
It pains me to give the late, great Iain Banks' last novel only two stars but the fact of the matter is: it is an inherently tedious piece about navelgazing, disappointed Guardian readers in their 40s, doing some inherently tedious intense navelgazing and being disappointed, prompted by one of them dying. Kit, the 18 year-old narrating son of the dying man who h
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I wanted to give The Quarry 5 stars. Not least because it's Iain Banks' last novel. But it's not a 5 star book. It's a very good 4 star book with the best rant about modern life ever. RIP Mr Banks.
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
i'm a forever fan of Banks' Culture novels, but i always feel like i'm missing something in his literary fiction.

this novel concerns a group of friends who, years after having been university roommates, gather at the house of one of the group who is dying.

the story is told from the point of view of Kit, the quite oddball son of the dying man. Kit is a wonderful character--definitely weird, but entirely harmless. you gotta love his quirks, though, and his obsessions with things like needing to kn
Lisa Kennedy
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
I am a massive Iain Banks fan, however I was very disappointed with his final novel. I really did want to like it, but the characters are unlikeable, the plot is weak and there isn't much insight or depth into the main protagonist/narrator when there was scope for some. I was also dismayed at the amount of political/social/cultural comments which serve only as an aggressive rant from the cancer-stricken character Guy. I know that Bank's politics sat in left, and there is definitely a lot of his ...more
Steven Palmer
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I would have loved to give this 5 stars, especially given the poignant time of its publication. But it just falls short of some of his previous works though we have to remember that Iain was working to deadlines he had no control over.
The theme itself is a well worn one; a group of friends gather together over a weekend a couple of decades after they all met at university. However, Banks gives it one of his usual dark twists and has the leader of the little group in the last throes of terminal c
Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan and was very sorry to see Mr Banks's light go out so early in his life. His last book is just like the dust jacket probably says - poignant, thought provoking and funny - you may not recognise all the characters from your own experiences but you may reflect on one or two similar ones that have crossed your path in earlier days - I know I did. It's a book about people and relationships - no spoilers - but it superbly captures the best and the worst aspects of University and later li ...more
Ian Banks
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
This is like an updated version of The Big Chill or Peter's Friends, in which a group of university friends descend upon the house of a contemporary, sharing all their old and new baggage and changed lives only to discover that their host is dying.

Being a Banks novel, of course, there is a lot more swearing, drugtaking, sex and talk about pop culture, music and politics. Banks usually has a character in each novel he uses as a mouthpiece for his own particular lefty views. At last, tragically, i
John Braine
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm still astonished and saddened that Banksy has been lost to cancer, and so quickly. And that his final book, published days after his death features a man dying of cancer, who bears little resemblance to how Banksy dealt with his terrible news.


I enjoyed all the nods to the Wasp Factory, which adds a symmetry to Bankies' career. Of course, if you're going to remind people of the Wasp Factory (best book ever), the comparison is all too likely to fall short. Particularly as I found the
Aug 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, audio
Quintessentially (Northern) English, this reminds me of the film "Peter's Friends" but set in a less posh circle up North. Our narrator is 18 year old Kit (socially awkward, or perhaps someone 'on the spectrum') whose father, Guy, is dying of cancer and has arranged a final hurrah with his close pals from Uni days. They are spending a long week-end together, and the entire book is set over the course of these 2-3 days.

It's mostly dialogues and diatribes (courtesy of the angry and resentful dyin
Roimata Macgregor
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book so much, it was sad and funny and even more poignant because, of course, Iain Banks was dying as he was writing it. He sounded pretty pissed off and who can blame him. He certainly did not go out quietly, he raged into the dying of the light alright.
Mike Steven
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After finishing my degree a long time ago, I went through a bit of a Iain Banks phase after a friend had recommended "The Wasp Factory". I even read a lot of his Sci-Fi stuff as Iain M Banks which is a genre I rarely bother with. Eventually I moved on, but I still have a tendency to pick up Iain Banks books I haven't read if I see them reduced or second hand.

There's lots to like about "The Quarry". The narrator, 18 year old Kit, is somewhere on the autistic spectrum which is always interesting a
Colin A
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great to find an Iain Banks book I hadn’t read. Not the most complex of story lines but well written and kept me interested.
Simon Mcleish
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This review first appeared on my blog here.

It felt like a significant, sad, occasion when I started to read The Quarry. This is the last time I will be able to read a book by one of my favourite authors for the first time, and it is a book which is infused with the news of his final illness and death in 2013, even though the similarities between the terminal cancer of the major character of Guy and the sudden final illness of his creator are apparently accidental, the book being written before B
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is there anything more exquisite than a book where nothing happens and yet you stay up until 2am to finish it? Extra points for it being a story with a neurodivergent protagonist where his way of thinking and functioning is totally incidental to the plot. I found Kit’s perspective to be really refreshing and it was a pleasure to accompany him throughout the events of the book.
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is difficulty in writing this review and rating this book given the circumstances of Iain Banks (aka Iain M. Banks) recent passing. So let's play it straight.

It's better than Stonemouth which I rated a 4, but it's not amazing (goodreads "5") so we land soundly in middle 4 (Stonemouth being the bottom of a 4, The Hydrogen Sonata being towards the top of 4, go visit The Player of Games, The Wasp Factory, Consider Phlebas, Use of Weapons, Excession, Look to Windward for 5's).

As Banks said in
I really wanted to enjoy this novel. Few people cannot be aware of the tragic events surrounding its publication. Since The Wasp Factory (1984) Banks has published 20+ books – split fairly evenly between SF (as Iain M Banks) and mainstream fiction. In April 2013 he announced that he was terminally ill with gall bladder cancer. On 9th June 2013 he died and The Quarry was published 11 days later.

Bizarrely, the story concerns a weekend in the life of Guy (early 40s, terminally ill with cancer) and
I fell in love with Iain Banks the first time a read the opening line to his novel, Crow Road: “That was the day my grandmother exploded.”

And my heart cracked a little when I read his short, dignified announcement of his own imminent death, when he told the world he had asked his partner, “if she would do me the honour of becoming my widow.”

So it’s taken me over a year to bring myself to read his final novel, The Quarry. It is an irony that Banks himself certainly appreciated that, when he found
Jason Edwards
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Kit has Asperger’s, we’re led to believe, and outright told at one point, but it comes across merely as a device for narration, not an actual useful character description. Kit’s being called “somewhere between a genius and an utter” only allows for a kind of commentary on commentary—a character who gets to say why he says the things he says— using words and phrases that do not contribute to a conversation, but just keep it flowing. The end result is a first-person narrator who comes across as a ...more
Aug 04, 2013 rated it liked it
It seems a little unfair to suggest that this book was in need of more work, in the circumstances. As it happens, I saw Peter's Friends very recently, and I couldn't help thinking that this book was essentially a re-write of that film (there's a scene in the book where the characters talk about spoof versions of movies they had made while at film school together twenty years later, and I'm a little disappointed that amongst Full Dinner Jacket, Madame Ovary and American Werewolf on Lithium there ...more
Amanda Smith
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
I hate to do this, Iain Banks must have been suffering, the mental anguish. What must it have been like as he wrote the book knowing he'd never write another. This is probably a big ask, there can't be anything bigger than dying or knowing you are...but a book can't ONLY be about satisfying the writer, surely? Have an ego but empathy is needed, what will the readers need so they feel nourished by a book? I get that it's a rant book, maybe anyone would want to rant, but it's got to be more than t ...more
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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

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