Title: The Quarry
Author: Iain Banks
Publication Year: 2013
Publisher: Redhook/HachetteEdition: eGalleySource: Edelweiss
Date Completed: Aug - 2013
A fictional town called Bewford in England is the setting for Iain Bank's novel, The Quarry. The story is narrated by eighteen-year-old Kit, a seemingly awkward teen, who appears to perhaps fall somewhere on the Asperger's-Autism spectrum charts. He's super smart, a computer-wiz and spends hours upon hours playing computer video games. This could be a coping mechanism for Kit as well.
Kit lives with his father, Guy, a 40-something man, who is dying of cancer. Kit does not know who his mother is, yet hopes to find out before it's too late. The two live in old house on the edge of a "quarry", that is literally, falling-apart, and his dad has just weeks to live. As the story opens, Guy's friends are arriving for a final visit with their old college friend. Over lots of alcohol and drugs, the friends gather for a final visit with their dying friend. There is talk among them about the need to find an incriminating videotape that the guys had made years earlier, but the heavily drugged Guy has no idea what he did with the tape.
Honestly, I had a tough time with this short novel. First, there are so many characters who come to say goodbye to Guy, that it was tough to keep track of them. In my opinion, all of these so-called friends were annoying, shallow and had no real depth. Then there was Kit, who in my opinion, was the novel's redeeming light. I felt for Kit and his situation -- no mother in the picture, and a dying dad who has never shown him any real affection. For what could have been a very depressing story, Kit made the story funny at times as he navigates life and the people around him. It was hard not to feel sorry for Kit. It's a relatively short novel about living and dying and dealing with the hand you've been dealt.
The Quarry was Iain Banks final work, the author died in June at the age of 59, just months after finding out that he had gall-bladder cancer. It's been reported that the author was writing this novel when he learned he, like the character in the book, was terminally ill.
I have not read any of the author's other 20+ books, which his fans have raved about, I was, however, expecting to like this one a bit more than I did.