The Wasp Factory

Paperback, 256 pages

English language

Published April 12, 1994 by Abacus.

ISBN:
978-0-349-10177-4
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Goodreads:
827610

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4 stars (13 reviews)

The Wasp Factory is the first novel by Scottish writer Iain Banks, published in 1984. Before the publication of The Wasp Factory, Banks had written several science fiction novels that had not been accepted for publication. Banks decided to try a more mainstream novel in the hopes that it would be more readily accepted, and wrote about a psychopathic teenager living on a remote Scottish island. According to Banks, this allowed him to treat the story as something resembling science fiction – the island could be envisaged as a planet, and Frank, the protagonist, almost as an alien. Following the success of The Wasp Factory, Banks began to write full-time. The Wasp Factory is written from a first person perspective, told by 16-year-old Francis Cauldhame ("Frank"), describing his childhood and all that remains of it. Frank observes many shamanistic rituals of his own invention, and it is soon revealed that …

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Review of 'The Wasp Factory' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Dark deeds done lightly. The Wasp Factory's macabre events are all described through the first person narrative of character who earns your sympathy (if not your full pardon). Iain Banks' sci-fi is full of amazing worlds and technology, but take that all away and that same energy goes into the writing of a single mind. The plot languished, and the end left much resolution to be desired. But the writing itself was more impressive than I would expect from a debut novel (even though I hold the author in high regard). Had it been tightened up a bit and taken the ending a few hours or days further, I would easily have given it another star.

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Subjects

  • Modern fiction
  • Fiction