Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Lunchtime read: The Steep Approach to Garbadale

Maybe it is an unwise decision but it seemed only fair to give Iain Banks another go and take advantage of a discount on his new book, The Steep Approach to Garbadale.

Reading Banks in the past – The Wasp Factory and The Crow Road – has been a patchy experience and the views on the subject aired by fellow blogger Stephen Lang echo my own.

But for various reasons it seemed like an idea to give The Steep Approach a go. The start could be mistaken for an Irvine Welsh novel with the almost sterotypical drunk, drugged up Scottish slackers being introduced.

What saves it from going off in the wrong direction is the development of the story about a wealthy family that is rounding up all its relatives to fight a takeover of the family firm by a US operation.

One of those identified as being against the deal is Alban Wopuld and it is from a drunken stupour that his cousing Fielding drags him away to appear at his Gran’s 80th birthday and an family meeting to decide the future of the business at the family home at Garbadale.

Through a series of flashbacks, that are occasionally confusingly introduced, you gather that Alban broke away from the family partly because of the politics and also because of his failed romantic relationship with his cousin Sophie.

More tomorrow…

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