Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

Enter the strange world of Frank if you dare. Just sixteen years old and he has already killed three members of his family. 

He calmly thinks back to those individual acts but insists it was just a phase he was going through, and has no more intentions to kill people. The animals on the island where he lives are a different story. As Frank does not attend school, he spends his days walking the island and occasionally waging wars with the resident rabbits and seagulls. 

Frank lives with his eccentric father, who likes to tell lies and is keeping secrets in his permanently locked study. Frank leads a near solitary life exploring the island and carrying out his peculiar little rituals. That’s when he’s not receiving manic phone calls from his older brother Eric who has just escaped from an asylum and is making his way back home. 

This is a twisted story, made even more disturbing by the casual, measured tone of Frank, even as he describes some disgusting things. The Wasp Factory has been reprinted several times since it’s first appearance in 1984. It is one of those truly unique stories that hooks you in with oddball characters and piques your curiosity so much, that before you know it you've almost finished the entire book. 

The Wasp Factory is bizarre and unsettling but is also strangely compelling, and will stay with you long after you have read it.  

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