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Steve

Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Stonemouth

  • By: Iain Banks
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 200
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 128
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 129

Stewart Gilmour is back in Stonemouth. After five years in exile, his presence is required at the funeral of patriarch Joe Murston, and even though the last time Stu saw the Murstons he was running for his life, staying away might be even more dangerous than turning up. An estuary town north of Aberdeen, Stonemouth, with its five mile beach, can be beautiful on a sunny day. On a bleak one it can seem to offer little more than sea fog, gangsters, cheap drugs and a suspension bridge irresistible to suicides.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Revenge and Regret on the Scottish Coast

  • By Steve on 28-04-12

Revenge and Regret on the Scottish Coast

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-04-12

Regarding Audiobooks, I have resisted the urge until this point as I have a dubious habit of poring over the intricately formed sentences that my favourite writers have created. I wasn't the least bit sure I would be able to concentrate on a storyteller reading to me at a pace I may not have been comfortable or familiar with. I wallow in fiction, especially when layered so carefully, as most of Banks' work undoubtedly is.

And Stonemouth is no different in this respect. Banks readers have been spoilt for years with the power of his ability to entrance and displace his readers into whatever world he has created for them. Here, in a small coastal town near Aberdeen, we meet Stewart Gilmour, tentatively creeping back home after being chased away five years previously for reasons that will become apparent. The slow burn narrative of the main plotline is the bone that the rest of Banks' flourishes cling to. And what flourishes! Stonemouth comes alive, witty and funny, bristling and feisty like its weather and the wake of its coast, spewing characters that are wonderfully imperfect and immaculately rendered.

The story is simple, but it is in the detail that fans will revel. A paintball fight, a view of the Stoun over the suspension bridge, an innocent game of pool gone awry. All deftly handled by a man who continues to create reality from the unbelievable, painting polaroids in your head. By the end of the story, I was genuinely upset that my time in Stonemouth was over.

None of this would have been possible without the talents of narrator Peter Kenny. I was blissfully relieved, despite my previously mentioned fears, when this warm, smooth Scottish accent greeted me. His range, pace and urgency were all absolutely in keeping with Banks' superlative attention to detail. His timing and intonation were the perfect accompaniment for both the incredulous humour and the often brooding meance.

This may have been my first Audiobook, but thanks to Kenny, it won't be my last.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful