The Quarry (Anglais) Relié – 25 juin 2013
Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
"Some of the funniest writing Banks has ever produced. A writer who has the rare gift of being infallibly entertaining."―The Telegraph
"It's the testimony of a writer refusing to go quietly, Iain Banks has got the last word."―The Sunday Times
"The Quarry is a satisfying end to a fine writing career."―Sunday Express
"The Quarry is an honorable finale to an exciting career."―The Guardian
"This is a novel that's perched at the dangerous edge of things, looking down. It's an urgent novel and an important one."―The Observer
"Iain Banks's gift to us over nearly 30 books, a brilliant, piercing depiction of just how funny, stupid, pointless, infuriating, glorious, mind-bending, and inane life can be. And that's why he's been a constant inspiration to me as a novelist and a human being."―Independent on Sunday
"A powerful and affecting book. The Quarry reaches a pitch of emotion that only a reader made of granite could read without tears."―Sunday Herald
"The Quarry is...a novel shot through with Banks's trademark humor, political engagement, and hope."―The Times, Book of the Week
"In Banks we had a novelist of supreme subtlety and one who...had an irrepressible sense of fun, that is evident on every page of The Quarry."―The Independent
"A compelling, raw book. Well-told, like all his books."―Evening Standard
"The book should comfort his fans in many ways, not least the rather hopeful ending and the almost belligerent way in which Guy remains true to his beliefs. Iain Banks may have just missed seeing his last book on the shelves but he can rest safe in the knowledge that what he has bequeathed us is something very fitting for such a stand-out career."―Express (4 Star Review)
"This is vintage Banks, full of heart, black comedy, and vitriol, and is sure to delight his fans."―Sunday Mirror
"With its deadpan teen narrator and stern rural backdrop, it is hard not to find in The Quarry a trace of Banks's enduring debut novel The Wasp Factory and with it the closing of a literary circle... The Quarry is a fitting valediction."―TLS, review
"Banks was an extraordinary writer; in straight literary fiction and in his science fiction novels, he engaged the world with passion... For good reason, Banks's many fans will devour this book."―Library Journal
Présentation de l'éditeur
"Uncle" Paul's a media lawyer now; Rob and Ali are upwardly mobile corporate bunnies; pretty, hopeful Pris is a single mother; Haze is still living up to his drug-inspired name twenty years on; and fierce, protective Hol is a gifted if acerbic critic. As young film students they lived at Willoughtree House with Guy, and they've all come back because they want something. Kit, too, has his own ulterior motives. Before his father dies he wants to know who his mother is, and what's on the mysterious tape they're all looking for. But most of all he wants to stop time and keep his father alive.
Fast-paced, gripping and savagely funny, The Quarry is a virtuoso performance whose soaring riffs on the inexhaustible marvel of human perception and rage against the dying of the light will stand among Iain Banks' greatest work.
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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 expecting to like this one a bit more than I did.
Kit is eighteen. He lives with his disagreeable father, Guy, in a dilapidated house on the edge of a quarry. Guy's cancer does nothing to improve his disposition. Kit doesn't know his mother. Guy has kept her identity a closely guarded secret, sometimes hinting it might be someone Kit knows, other times inventing improbable liaisons with women in distant places.
A group of friends from Guy's university days, fellow students of Film and Media Studies, have come to spend the weekend in his house, helping to empty it of clutter. Their ulterior motive for visiting their dying friend is to search for a video they once made that would be embarrassing (in an unspecified way) if its contents were ever made public. Knowing that people tend to avoid "the very sick and the very dying," Guy dangled the tape to orchestrate this (presumably) final gathering of old mates. The result is a British version of The Big Chill as the friends spend most of the weekend talking, drinking, and doing drugs.
The plot that loosely binds The Quarry revolves around twin mysteries: the identity of Kit's mother and the contents of the tape. As you'd expect from a Banks novel, quirky characters are the novel's strength. Guy is often an overbearing jerk -- and probably was even before he was dying -- but Banks creates sympathy for the man by illuminating his fears and regrets. It's also easy to like Kit despite his many faults, or perhaps because of them. Although they aren't developed in equal depth, the other characters are damaged in conventional ways. Banks seems to be suggesting that we're all damaged and that Kit's mental illness is just a different kind of damage, perhaps organic in nature, while the other characters have been ground down by life's experiences.
One of Banks' characters argues that people have reunions like this because they want to measure themselves against known reference points, and maybe that's the point of the book. None of the characters measure up as well as they might like, but few of us ever do. Kit is a bit young to be measured, and to the extent that this is his coming-of-age story, it's fair to say that Kit, despite his limited ability to change, does learn something about how to live his life. Unlike Banks' strongest efforts, however, The Quarry doesn't pack many surprises or dramatic moments, although Guy's anger and frustration that cancer has taken control of his life is realistic and moving. The resolutions of the twin mysteries are a bit disappointing, given the buildup they receive. For that reason, while I've never encountered a Banks novel (including his science fiction) that wasn't worth reading, I'd put The Quarry in the bottom half of my stack of Banks novels. That still makes it a better novel than most authors can manage. It's sad that the stack will never grow taller.
Knowing the author's personal circumstances while writing his last novel makes a difference to me. I believe this to be a personal statement of Mr. Banks about his life and how he feels about leaving it. I may be putting too much into the conversations in the book, how much is fiction, how much are real feelings? I sure don't know.
All his books are filled with a degree of dark humor and there is plenty here, the novel is not dreary or morbid, quite funny in spots, with pearls of wisdom thrown in along the way.
It is told from the point of view of the son of a dying man who says he himself is strange, but I don't find him extraordinarily so, he is like many teenage boys I knew. The father, who is dying of cancer, isn't really prominent in the novel except as a referral point. The majority of the book is filled with conversations between the son and the father's friends, his buddies (male and female) during college days who have come to visit for what may be the last time. The last pages of the novel the father's voice is heard above all else. There is also always mystery in Banks' works and a minor mystery or two is revealed at the end.
Would I recommend this to everyone? No. I think it is an important work for his fans who know why this was written, but I think others, particularly first timers, will wonder what all the fuss was about. (To those readers I say read The Wasp Factory or Player of Games).
I am sentimental enough to have gotten teary eyed at the last page. I'll miss the author and other novels he had left in him. His imagination was profound and he always left me with a sense of awe.
However, that's not this book. I bought The Quarry initially because, despite my reservations about reading his last novel featuring a character dying of cancer, I was curious how Mr. Banks would treat the subject. As I read the book, I quickly realized that it isn't about death and dying but about living and life. As another reviewer points out, there's more than a passing resemblance to some type of British Big Chill. I quickly found myself lost in the story, laughing out loud while reading it and sympathizing intently with its protagonist Kit, his father and his father's friends. Mr. Banks weaves British humor (I had to look up many of the colloquialisms to be sure I understood the meaning -- thank goodness for the Oxford Dictionary on my Kindle), politics, a sense of how his generation sees itself and those that come after as well as excellent social commentary about the online gaming world, corporate life and generally life in the early part of the 21st Century.
There is a section where Kit is sharing the text transcript of his insult-trading battle with another online gamer that was so outrageously funny that I've read it aloud to more than one friend. There is another awkward section where Kit has an almost-erotic encounter with one of his dad's friends that made my skin crawl both due to the possible implications and the explicit nature of the encounter itself.
The fact that these two emotions were writ large in the same book is testament to the power of Mr. Banks' prose.
The book had a satisfying ending, was told in an engaging, easy manner that didn't seem to bog down even when there was little happening other than people sharing each others' company and yet when I finished it, I was once again saddened that these were the last new words I would read from Mr. Banks.
I hope that my own sentimentality about his death isn't off-putting to others but I feel that I've experienced a literary loss that this most excellent book can't quite fill. Five heartily-awarded stars, and for other Iain Banks fans, you will not regret the time you spend in his skilled hands.