The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

The Wasp Factory

Title: The Wasp Factory

Author: Iain Banks

Publication Date: 1985

Review Score: 8/10

With his mother gone, his brother locked up in a psychiatric hospital and only his eccentric farther for company, Frank has by no means had an ordinary childhood. But then again Frank is by no means an ordinary child.

Although smart, inquisitive and by no means aggressive in his normal day to day manner, Frank is capable of truly dark and terrifying acts. He has already killed his younger brother and 2 other family members, and although he insists that it was just a stage he was going through, his love for guns, explosions and torturing animals is quite disturbing.

But then again, Frank’s brother Eric makes him look like a saint, and he’s just escaped from the psychiatric ward and is on his way back home…

Dark, Disturbed and at times downright disgusting, The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks is by no means for the faint hearted reader. With a strong realism in his writing, Banks is able to draw the reader in and play out these shocking scenes as if they are happening in front of your eyes.

However, what is most bizarre about this book is how he is able to make the reader like empathize with Frank, despite what he is capable off. He is a killer, but he is also lost and alone, something we have all felt at least once in our lives.

By far the most enjoyable thing about this book is Bank’s writing style, which draws you in and is effortless to read. However, if you scare easy or prefer your books a little more light hearted The Wasp Factory probably isn’t for you.

Continue Reading

Strange Medicine – Mike Russell

Title: Strange Medicine

Author: Mike Russell

Publication Date: 2016

Review Score: 6/10

A book best classified under the title of “weird fiction”, Strange Medicine is a collection of truly bizarre short stories that all focus around the theme of transformation, yet are all completely unique and off the wall. From a woman in love with her telephone to a man made out of birds to fish that emerges from your shoulder, this book has a little bit of everything you’ve never even thought of.

The first thing I would say about this collection of stories is that, hand on heart, I’ve never read anything like this in my life, which in a world full of an unlimited supply of new books that has to be a compliment. As well as that, the main positive of this book is that although some of the stories feel like someone has just drunkenly cobbled together pieces of different ideas that do not come together to make a full picture, you will still find yourself wanting to know what happens and trying desperately to see the completed image.

I think Russell has to be appreciated for going completely outside the box, not sticking to populist writing conventions and creating something truly unique. It is not my normal cup of tea and may not be yours, but I can say I will never forget reading this book and every now and then it’s good to step outside of our reading comfort zones. Maybe you should step out of yours?

Continue Reading