When Iain Banks died, Phyllis and I realised that we had never actually got round to reading anything by him. We decided to order a few of his books to rectify this issue.
Since then I’ve read Consider Phlebas, The Wasp Factory, Complicity and Whit (in that order).
I didn’t like Consider Phlebas at all, I must admit. I love some science fiction novels, but not all, and this was definitely in the latter category (together with for instance the Red/Green/Blue Mars trilogy and Doris Lessing’s Canopus in Argos books).
I then turned to Banks’s non-SF books. The Wasp Factory wasn’t at all what I had expected, but it was rather enjoyable in its own way, and it definitely made me want to read more of his books. Complicity was good, too, although surprisingly different.
However, in my opinion Whit is far superior. It’s a book about a small religious sect in Scotland, seen through the eyes of the founder’s granddaughter. The religion was invented by Iain Banks and he manages to make it very believable, which is no mean feat.
Perhaps it’s just my upbringing as the son of two theologians, but my main complaint about this wonderful book is that at 450 pages it is far too short. I thoroughly recommend it.