Synopses & Reviews
"It was the day my grandmother exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach's Mass in B Minor,
and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach."
So begins Iain Banks' The Crow Road, the tale of Prentice McHoan and his complex but enduring Scottish family. Prentice, preoccupied with thoughts of sex, death, booze, drugs, and God, has returned to his home village of Gallanach full of questions about the McHoan past, present, and future.
When his beloved Uncle Rory disappears, Prentice becomes obsessed with the papers Rory left behind the notes and sketches for a book called The Crow Road. With the help of an old friend, Prentice sets out to solve the mystery of his uncle's disappearance, inadvertently confronting the McHoans' long association with tragedy an association that includes his sister's fatal car crash and his father's dramatic death by lightning.
The Crow Road is a coming-of-age story as only Iain Banks could write an arresting combination of dark humor, menace, and thought-provoking meditations on the nature of love, mortality, and identity.
"When Prentice McHoan, the irrepressible hero of Banks's wily novel whose loves include drink, cars, girls and history, returns from university in Glasgow to his family home in Gallanach for his grandmother's funeral, his thoughts turn to his uncle Rory, a travel writer who disappeared eight years earlier. When Prentice runs into Janice, an old girlfriend of Rory's, the two wonder together if Rory has gone 'away the Crow Road' (Scottish for 'died'), and Janice reveals that Rory gave her a folder of his poems and notes before he disappeared. Rory's writings are tantalizingly cryptic and turn out to include outlines for a novel-in-progress titled Crow Road. Fueled by his uncle's notes, his own curiosity and a good bit of brown liquor, Prentice sets off to find his uncle in an engaging narrative that admirably balances bawdy Scottish humor, crafty character development and some good old-fashioned mystery. Prentice finds his closure for better or for worse and things are tied up neatly (maybe too neatly) by the end. Readers unfamiliar with Banks's prodigious output have a great starting point here." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)