The Wasp Factory, the debut novel by Iain Banks is one I recall seeing in a book club magazine back in the early eighties. The book was billed as a nausea-inducing piece of modern storytelling, and unsurprisingly the characterization was not an endearing one with my parents. So, the clan library was not extended, and it took me way too long to actually get to read the book.
And the hype wasn’t wrong. Even though quarter century has passed and the norms lowered significantly, the Wasp Factory still provokes, prods and while it doesn’t really nauseate (apart from one scene), it consistently brings on the greatest literate unease in a good long while.
To say much of the titular factory, the plot or the characters would be considered spoiling, and I’d much rather everybody discover the multiple layers of truth on Frank, the protagonist who carries more baggage than a freight 747.
Nasty, brutish and short. Not an easy read, but a recommended one nonetheless.