Acquired via BookCrossing 30 May 2009 – bags from Julie & Barry

my review:
I enjoyed this easy-to-read novel about a family busines in – perhaps – its death throes. It was a little more slight than I’d expected; I did enjoy the enrichening effect of the dialect sections narrated by Tango, who served as a chorus, commenting on the main action. Although parts were "male" and how I imagined Banks would write (the suicide etc being a case in point), some of the writing and themes seemed curiously feminine – or perhaps this kind of family novel is more usually written by women. Like Matth3w, I didn’t appreciate the political lecture sudee3nly inserted into Alban’s dialogue at one stage; also the concentration on bands, ipods and the Tsunami seemed inserted in order to ground the book in popular culture rather than for a literary purpose.

A good example of BookCrossing encouraging me to read a book I wouldn’t naturally have picked up, and a good holiday read.

Matthew’s review (he read it first and I didn’t read his review before reading the book/writing mine!):
This book is a perfect example of the lucid and erudite prose typical of Iain Banks non-sf output. Whilst the story might seem slight it is nevertheless gripping and the characters of the main protagonist and his family are very well drawn and easy to identify with even if they are a little "Dynasty"-ish in their portrayal.

My only two (minor) concerns are the rather blunt politicizing of the main character which Banks rather too obviously uses as a mouthpiece for his own political views. Also the denoument, although not entirely laid out for all to see in the book is nevertheless not too hard to guess and rather lessened the impact of the end of the book for me.

Other than that I found the rest of the book as amusing and engrossing as any other in the Bank’s oeuvre.