Espedair Street

Title: Espedair Street.

Author: Iain Banks.

Summary: Daniel Weir used to be a famous – not to say infamous – rock star. Maybe still is. At thirty-one he has been both a brilliant failure and a dull success. He’s made a lot of mistakes that have paid off and a lot of smart moves he’ll regret forever (however long that turns out to be). Daniel Weir has gone from rags to riches and back, and managed to hold onto them both, though not much else. His friends all seem to be dead, fed up with him or just disgusted – and who can blame them? And now Daniel Weir is all alone. As he contemplates his life, Daniel realises he only has two problems: the past and the future. He knows how bad the past has been. But the future – well, the future is something else.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3/5

Review: It took me a while to get into this book, and i don’t know why. Perhaps because it doesn’t start out as outright odd or different like Banks’ previous books have.

The premise is simple: The rise and fall of a rock star, and where he is now. The chapters alternate between then and now, and that helped the book not get too boring. Because honestly, not a lot happens. It’s less a plot-driven book and much more a character exploration. Which is fine, but it still wasn’t the most riveting. I laughed on more than a few occasions, but i didn’t overly care about any of the characters, let alone Daniel Weir, the focus of the story.

The book opens with a big cliffhanger:

“Two days ago i decided to kill myself…

Last night i changed my mind…

Nice hook to get readers interested, but the thrill wore off quickly and i was left wondering what the hell all the back story had to do with anything.

The fact that something happened to at least some of his band matesthat they are deadis alluded to throughout the book, and gradually becomes outright fact, but still the whole story is eked out over several chapters, with the details of what happened slow in coming. Personally, i just found this frustrating. The rest of the story wasn’t enough to keep me entertained, and it felt like the good stuff was being deliberately held back to encourage me to keep reading.

Well, it worked, and i finished the book. And my one-word opinion of it would be: “Okay.” This book is okay. The weakest effort i have read by Banks so far, but still far better than most. I guess the three stars i’m giving it is in comparison to the other Banks books i have read so far. Compared to most popular fiction, it could rate a little higher.


About Wendleberry
I'm odd.

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