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Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
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Wasp Factory (original 1984; edition 1985)

by Iain Banks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,7171651,157 (3.8)1 / 465
Member:Alirob
Title:Wasp Factory
Authors:Iain Banks
Info:Futura Pubns. (1985), Paperback
Collections:Ebooks, Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:dark, Scotland

Work details

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (1984)

  1. 131
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (taz_)
    taz_: I suspect that Iain Banks' "Wasp Factory" character Frank Cauldhame was inspired by Shirley Jackson's Merricat, as these two darkly memorable teenagers share a great many quirks - the totems and protections to secure their respective "fortresses", the obsessive superstitions that govern their daily lives and routines, their isolation and cloistered pathology, their eccentric families and dark secrets. Be warned, though, that "The Wasp Factory" is a far more explicit and grisly tale than the eerily genteel "Castle" and certainly won't appeal to all fans of the latter.… (more)
  2. 30
    God's Own Country by Ross Raisin (Clurb, chrisharpe)
  3. 20
    The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe (hubies)
  4. 31
    Complicity by Iain Banks (heidijane)
  5. 53
    Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (arthurfrayn)
  6. 11
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: children being creepy
  7. 33
    Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Grotesqueries, family life and sibling rivalry.
  8. 00
    Tan dulce, tan amargo by Roberto Carrasco (nosoyretro)
  9. 11
    The Bridge by Iain Banks (xtien)
    xtien: Banks's debut novel.
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English (162)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (165)
Showing 1-5 of 162 (next | show all)
No animals were actually harmed during the writing of this book, but still wont be everyone's cup of tea. There's a twist in the plot that's quite devious, I wont tell where it comes. ( )
  charlie68 | Jun 18, 2019 |
I know that this is a classic and I want to read some Ian Banks. The writing is excellent. I got around five chapters into it.

I'm not sensitive to violence, but the animal abuse in this book is too much for me. It's nonstop. I just can't. I read the warnings about it, I steeled myself to it, but I can't handle it. I have to stop.

I wish I felt differently, because the story is fascinating.
  authenticjoy | Mar 29, 2019 |
That's my score to date. I haven't killed anybody for years, and don't intend to ever again. It was just a stage I was going through.

A different Iain, but just as Macabre! Perhaps overly grisly, yet I agree with a reviewer I had browsed earlier. Banks leads one to respect if not love Frank. That is an impressive feat. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Loved the funnier deaths. Was fascinated by the grotesque shamanism. Wasn't thrilled by the ending. ( )
  pnppl | Jan 10, 2019 |
Very disturbing, very smart, but not very readable. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 162 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Iain Banksprimary authorall editionscalculated
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I had been making the rounds of the Sacrifice Poles the day we heard my brother had escaped.
Quotations
Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different and more fundamental reasons than I'd disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim.

That's my score to date. Three. I haven't killed anybody for years, and don't intend to ever again.

It was just a stage I was going through.
Eric was crazy all right, even if he was my brother. He was lucky to have somebody sane who still liked him.
After I'd come to understand evolution and know a little about history and farming, I saw that the thick white animals I laughed at for following each other around and getting caught in bushes were the product of generations of farmers as much as generations of sheep; we made them, we moulded them from the wild, smart survivors that were their ancestors so that they would become docile, frightened, stupid, tasty wool-producers. We didn't want them to be smart, and to some extent their aggression and their intelligence went together.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684853159, Paperback)

"I had been making the rounds of the Sacrifice Poles the day we heard my brother had escaped. I already knew something was going to happen; the Factory told me."

Those lines begin one of the most infamous of contemporary Scottish novels. The narrator, Frank Cauldhame, is a weird teenager who lives on a tiny island connected to mainland Scotland by a bridge. He maintains grisly Sacrifice Poles to serve as his early warning system and deterrent against anyone who might invade his territory.

Few novelists have ever burst onto the literary scene with as much controversy as Iain Banks in 1984. The Wasp Factory was reviled by many reviewers on account of its violence and sadism, but applauded by others as a new and Scottish voice--that is, a departure from the English literary tradition. The controversy is a bit puzzling in retrospect, because there is little to object to in this novel, if you're familiar with genre horror.

The Wasp Factory is distinguished by an authentically felt and deftly written first-person style, delicious dark humor, a sense of the surreal, and a serious examination of the psyche of a childhood psychopath. Most readers will find that they sympathize with and even like Frank, despite his three murders (each of which is hilarious in an Edward Gorey fashion). It's a classic of contemporary horror. --Fiona Webster

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Frank, a disturbed boy who lives alone with his father, creates a bizarre fantasy world for himself which includes strange rituals and murder.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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