eighteen.

the Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (1984)
 Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different reasons than I’d disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim. That’s my score to date. I haven’t killed anybody for years, and don’t intend to ever again. It was just a stage I was going through.” 
 Francis and his father are the only residents on a small Scottish island. Francis’ father never registered him as a new born, so he doesn’t officially exist and has therefore only been home schooled. He spends his days running around the island, blowing up his dams and killing animals. His older brother, Eric, who has spent the last years in jail for killing dogs and scaring children, has escaped and is on his way home, which worries Francis. In addition to have killed three young kids, Francis has many other secrets. The Wasp Factory is a huge machine which gives him the answers in the times of need, and he uses this machine to figure out what to do about Eric. 

I think the Cauldhame family just won the award for creepiest family ever. Two brothers, where one kills dogs and the other children with a mad scientist as a father. I haven’t come across any worse in my time of reading. And the funniest thing is that despite all the awful stuff Francis does, I manage to feel sorry for him. Because after all, he is a product of his father. 

The book is both wonderful and awful at the same time. There was one scene, involving the brain of child, that made me sick to the stomach because it was so easy to picture the scene. It is definitely a book you should read if you can stomach it. And Iain Banks is making his way onto my favourite author list, such a shame that it happens after his death.  

fifty-five.

the Crow Road by Iain Banks (1992)
 “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.”
The book dwells around Prentice and his near and far family from Gallanach in Scotland. Prentice is a history student in Glasgow and clever as fuck, in love with one Verity, doesn’t speak to his father because of religious dispute and has a tendency to occasionally drink too much. His family is a bunch of eccentrics and the biggest mystery is the disappearance of his uncle Rory who wrote an amazing travel book about his experiences in India.
I love Prentice, I love his amazing family and I had dreams about castles and whisky and I found myself reading out loud in an horrible Scottish accent.
If that first sentence doesn’t get you to read the book, I doubt anything will. And then you will be really missing out on one of the best books ever. If I weren’t broke right now, I’d totally buy all books by Iain Banks because I think he has quite the possibility to become one of my favourites.