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The Steep Approach to Garbadale | [Iain Banks]

The Steep Approach to Garbadale

The Wopuld family built their fortune on a board game called Empire, now a wildly successful computer game. So successful, in fact, that the American Spraint Corp wants to buy the Wopulds out. Alban, who has been evading the family tentacles for the last few years, thinks Spraint should be treated with suspicion, but he also has other things on his mind. What, for example, drove his mother to take her own life?
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Publisher's Summary

The Wopuld family built their fortune on a board game called Empire, now a wildly successful computer game. So successful, in fact, that the American Spraint Corp wants to buy the Wopulds out. Alban, who has been evading the family tentacles for the last few years, thinks Spraint should be treated with suspicion, but he also has other things on his mind. What drove his mother to take her own life? And is he yet over Sophie, his teenage love, who'll be present at the forthcoming family gathering - part birthday party, part Extraordinary General Meeting - in their highland castle?

©2007 Iain Banks; (P)2007 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"The most imaginative British novelist of his generation." (The Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (99 )
5 star
 (38)
4 star
 (29)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (3)
Overall
3.9 (33 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (33 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    John Westhill, United Kingdom 07/09/2007
    John Westhill, United Kingdom 07/09/2007 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    184
    22
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "One of the best audio books"

    This proved one of the most memorable listens of the past year and highly entertaining. The novel has a journey of personal discovery, a complex family saga, big business, alternative values and lifesyles, intrigue and a spice of good sex. However, the best feature is the superb reading by Peter kenny with a range of voices that presents the characters and situations to best effect. Very entertaining and comic in places - the maiden aunts are a delight and the failed Powerpoint presentation a lovely culture clash.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Sheffield, United Kingdom 20/06/2007
    Jane Sheffield, United Kingdom 20/06/2007 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    176
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    32
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    14
    3
    Overall
    "Very enjoyable"

    I really enjoyed listening to this. The plot unfolds gradually, moving both forwards towards the family vote over whether or not to sell off their company, and backwards to fill in the past and explain how the protagonist, Alban, came to be who he is. It's absolutely beautifully read: the reader manages to give a different voice to each character without falling into caricature. There are some very funny moments (Fielding giving a powerpoint presentation to the two elderly aunts was stand-out for me). My one reservation was that the ending wasn't really all that revelatory. I got the impression that it was meant to be a shock - it certainly seemed to surprise Alban - but I'd figured out the family secret a good while earlier.
    Overall then, I'd say this is one of the best-read audio books I've encountered in a while, but not the best Iain Banks I've come across.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie Leeds, United Kingdom 24/04/2010
    Marie Leeds, United Kingdom 24/04/2010 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    5
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Good story, great narration"

    Peter Kenny's narration is superb as some of the other reviewers have mentioned. He beautifully renders personality, mood, accent, age and gender for all the diverse characters from Scottish hard man to dotty maiden aunt. The story is good - I didn't mind the narration hopping about and I think it actually added to the story. I did find it dragging a bit in the final quarter, hence the 4 stars rather than 5. I might have skipped a few pages had I been reading rather than listening. It's quite an episodic book, but the episodes are linked together by a common thread and the central character is likable and interesting enough to continue to engage. Overall, well worth the listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin Inerness, United Kingdom 03/02/2010
    Martin Inerness, United Kingdom 03/02/2010 Member Since 2008

    Self employed Architect. Listen whilst working and every night. Love sci fi, post Apocalypse, comedy, fantasy, historical & horror.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    169
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    176
    69
    FOLLOWERS
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    42
    5
    Overall
    "Steep approach"

    I thought I would enjoy this one more than I found I did. It seemed a bit slow to unfold and I took quite a while to complete listening to this one. I would have to rate it as just OK, not a bad listen but not a page turner either, pretty much the story of one mans life, which I found not too interesting at times.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Plinkyplonkywinkywonkydonkey 14/07/2014 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Surprised by how much I enjoyed this book"
    Would you listen to The Steep Approach to Garbadale again? Why?

    I'd give it a few years and listen to it again.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The grandmother - could picture her so well.


    What about Peter Kenny’s performance did you like?

    Well cast for the narration - he put definition into the characters and his voice is easy on the ear


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes but one has to live a little too.


    Any additional comments?

    After listening to the Wasp Factory, I was wary of Iain Banks's warped imagination. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this story. He might have been warped but he also had a keen eye for human nature and brought his characters to life without making them clichéd.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacqueline Curbishley Barbados 07/07/2014
    Jacqueline Curbishley Barbados 07/07/2014 Member Since 2011

    Freebird

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not the usual Iain Banks."
    If you could sum up The Steep Approach to Garbadale in three words, what would they be?

    Brilliant. Sensitive. Absorbing.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's detailed descriptions of places and people kept me enthralled from the first words. The way it is arranged in flashbacks is never confusing and I listened to it until late in the night, something I never do. It's very much a keeper and I am sure I will listen to it again. Not being a fan of science fiction, this was an Iain Banks I had never imagined and the first of his books I have ever bought as I always thought of him as a science fiction writer.


    What does Peter Kenny bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Peter Kenny gave voices to the characters that made them unforgettable. Alban's voice is still in my head. Kenny's accents were flawless.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It certainly was. I refused an invitation to a concert because I couldn't bear to leave it.


    Any additional comments?

    Although I had guessed the ending, it didn't detract in any way from the book itself.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin huddersfieldUnited Kingdom 24/10/2009
    Robin huddersfieldUnited Kingdom 24/10/2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Wasp factory rehash"

    Aside from the opportunity to rail against the US neocon foreign policy agenda, I was left at a bit of a loss by the rehashing of family disfunction and hidden tragedy. If you have read the wasp factory you will have experienced the same style.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ivan Ryton, TWR, United Kingdom 03/12/2008
    Ivan Ryton, TWR, United Kingdom 03/12/2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    3
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "the tale of a family"

    once you get into it it is an absorbing tale of the family. there are lots of flashbacks which can some times confuse the listener.
    but it is still an absorbing tale of dysfunctional family with a twist in the tail.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    smcvit 16/09/2014
    smcvit 16/09/2014 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great portrayal of characters"
    What about Peter Kenny’s performance did you like?

    Iain Banks always writes a great story, but I was particularly impressed with Peter Kenny's characterisation. As this was a family gathering, there were a significant number of characters, all needing a slightly different vocal representation. I thought Peter managed this really well, providing subtle distinctions for each.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna Bagarmossen, Sweden 20/03/2012
    Anna Bagarmossen, Sweden 20/03/2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    105
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Sadly poor research.."

    The book itself was interesting and somewhat entertaining. However, the whole story revolves around not being sure who fathered who, and that is evident from the very beginning.

    In the final chapter, as expected, the truth is revealed...
    But the assumption that the genetic test needed to prove parenthood is done using sperm rather than a simple skin sample, saliva, blood, or even hair, made me pretty depressed.

    Spoiler:
    Who on earth would hire a hooker to have sex with a guy to collect his sperm in a condom for genetic testing when the saliva on a glass will do the trick??

    Made me think the whole book was a great deal less worthwhile when part of the story is based on a misconception that could so easily have been avoided-

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 12 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
Sort by:
  • Dan
    Kirkland, WA, USA
    23/08/09
    Overall
    "Entirely enjoyable. More AudioBooks by Iain Banks?"

    A great story line with enjoyable reading. This kept me listening non-stop ... then I started it over to listen a second time. Great character development.
    But why aren't there more Iain Banks books recorded on Audible.com???

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew Calvin
    14/01/08
    Overall
    "Well performed"

    The book is entertaining, if a little self-indulgent in parts. It provides a funny insight into families born into money and the family firm. It's not a book I expected from Iain Banks, so don't go looking for sci-fi.

    A recurring theme is unrequited love, and the message seems to be that one can delude oneself for a long time about the qualities of a past love. It is clever in that even while the characters are claiming to not have certain character flaws, they are in fact demonstrating them.

    The narrator is excellent - he has really thought about how to best perform the book. The audio quality is also among the best on audible.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Anette
    Bothell, WA, USA
    08/01/08
    Overall
    "the steep approach to garbadale"

    very british, very funny and intelligent. beautiful reallife charcters and a swinging end
    - pleasure to listen to, especially the scottish parts.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Mirboo North, Australia
    03/03/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Banks read by Kenny - a superb combination"
    What made the experience of listening to The Steep Approach to Garbadale the most enjoyable?

    I've listened to a number of Bank's books read by Peter Kenny and all have been excellent. This book has an engaging plot and characters that seem genuine.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    They were all excellent.


    What about Peter Kenny’s performance did you like?

    Kenny has a very clear speaking voice that is well modulated.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Some scenes in the book were very amusing, particularly Alban's awkward teenage experiences with his cousin.


    Any additional comments?

    More Banks / Kenny combinations please.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Timothy
    Rojales, Spain
    13/06/09
    Overall
    "Quality"

    Great Narration, great story. It´s clever and unpretentious. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would heartily recommend it.The narration is superb.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Eleanor
    Natick, MA, United States
    06/03/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really wonderful"
    Any additional comments?

    Alban -- a sweet but broken, a wonderfully flawed and human character -- is in a war of attrition with his grandmother, the mater familias of large, wealthy family/business. At the age of 35, he is forced to come to terms with his life and his family. A great story, full of pitch perfect detail and dialog -- some passages are surprisingly, laugh-out-loud funny. Kenny does a great job with different UK accents, subtly positioning each character in terms of age, class and personality (his American and mid-Atlantic accents are kind of grating).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • george
    United States
    20/02/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A non SF story by Iain Banks."
    Where does The Steep Approach to Garbadale rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Near the top. It's a good story. The actor reading it does a very good job. It's an enjoyable listen.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Steep Approach to Garbadale?

    Tough question to answer.


    Have you listened to any of Peter Kenny’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I think I have, but I'm not sure. He's very good.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Steep Approach to Garbadale and why?

    I listened to the story about a month ago. The lead character is the most memorable, but it's told from his pont of view, so that's no shock.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • amazonshopper
    16/03/08
    Overall
    "NOT BAD"

    I HAVE READ ALL OF BANKS FICTION AND WISH MORE WAS AVAILABLE ON AUDIO ESP. AUDIBLE.
    THIS WAS ENTERTAINING, BUT IT READ A LITTLE BETTER THAN WHEN I LISTENED TO IT. CHECK IT OUT.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Mike
    Rancho Murieta, CA, USA
    14/08/08
    Overall
    "Garbadale"

    It just blathered on and on. I will have to try other books by him. Nothing worked for me here. m

    0 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-9 of 9 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

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