The Quarry by Iain Banks (Abacus)
It is sadly ironic to realise that whilst writing this novel which is about someone dying, author Iain Banks was not aware that his days too were numbered.
Banks passed away shortly after the book was published which adds to the poignancy of this tale about the central character Guy who invites old university chums to his house for a weekend.
Guy lives with his autistic teenage son Kit, who is the narrator.
The plot revolves around a missing tape which all those present in the house are anxious to find, but Kit is more concerned with finding out who his mother was and the guests’ relationship with grumpy Guy.
And Guy is indeed very grumpy, cursing his terminal plight at every opportune moment. Kit isn’t spared his father’s bile, but despite that Guy cannot conceal his loving admiration for the boy who is his main carer.
Banks slowly but expertly introduces the various guests to us and they are like any mid-40 year olds, torn between what they have achieved and what they may never achieve.
Like Kit, the reader is encouraged to ponder what is contained in the missing videotape – and how compromising, if at all, it may be. His autism also provides several amusing insights into the way he perceives other people’s behaviour, especially as drink and drugs are consumed in some quantity by his father’s friends, and old grievances are aired.