Regular price: £16.99

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
OR
In Basket

Summary

The Wasp Factory is a bizarre, imaginative, disturbing, and darkly comic look into the mind of a child psychopath - one of the most infamous of contemporary Scottish novels. 

"Two years after I killed Blyth, I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different and more fundamental 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. Three. I haven't killed anybody for years, and don't intend to ever again. It was just a stage that I was going through."  

Enter - if you can bear it - the extraordinary private world of Frank, just 16, and unconventional, to say the least.

©2007 Hachette Audio (P)2007 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"One of the most brilliant first novels I have come across." (The Telegraph)

"One of the top 100 novels of the century." (The Independent)  

"Brilliant...irresistible...compelling." (New York Times

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    229
  • 4 Stars
    173
  • 3 Stars
    68
  • 2 Stars
    21
  • 1 Stars
    19

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    257
  • 4 Stars
    102
  • 3 Stars
    29
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    4

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    177
  • 4 Stars
    128
  • 3 Stars
    63
  • 2 Stars
    19
  • 1 Stars
    14
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

PERFECT

Excellent narration of a brilliantly constructed story. Listening to some books, I drift off and miss what's been said for the last 5 minutes. This had me hanging on every word. An absolute must read/listen.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kate
  • Swansea, uk
  • 23-12-12

Brilliantly read that brings the story to life

This was one of my books I had to read as coursework but I am badly dyslexic so I relied on the audio book to bring it to life. Which it did beautifully. All I can say is that I recommend it and thank you.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr
  • SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom
  • 01-12-13

Absorbing story with a great twist

If you could sum up The Wasp Factory in three words, what would they be?

Intriguing, disturbing and surprising

What did you like best about this story?

You are completely drawn in to the life of the narrator, somehow coming to empathise with them despite the total and utter weirdness and the murdering.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The twist at the end was both shocking and totally unexpected, I don't think that I have been caught this off guard in anything that I have ever read.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The central character is so bizarre but strangely touching. When you learn all about the wasp factory the thoughts, preoccupations and emotions while alien to any reader are genuinely touching and moving.

Any additional comments?

Peter Kenny's performance is fantastic and for me completely embodies Frank.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • graeme
  • Thornbury, United Kingdom
  • 09-04-13

The Wasp Factory

Peter Kenny's soft spoken and convincing narrative draws the listener into the strange world of the teenage Frank who lives on the edge of a small community in Scotland. Frank lives life with a strong sense of rhythm and ritual, which is interrupted by the imminent return of an elder brother.

Frank calmly unfolds the story of an unusual upbringing where things are not at all what they seem.

A macabre delight where the unpleasant happenings are balanced by the charm of the character.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Well adapted for audio.

A supurb story, have heard it before, and always worth another go.
Iain Banks at his best.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gemma
  • Radlett, United Kingdom
  • 13-08-12

Dark, funny and perfectly read

One of the best books I have read/listened to in a long time. Frank is a wonderfully developed character, and all the side characters are interesting too. Despite the rather horrific narrative this book is often very funny, and the phone calls between Frank and Eric had me in stitches.

The narration is perfect, I could listen to Peter Kenny's voice all day.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Review: "The Wasp Factory" by Iain Banks

Overall, I loved this book. It is a short read (or listen), but it has something about it that demands you only nibble at it and chew on each little mouthful to savour the taste. I can see why it popped up when I asked for recommendations for the boys as I've never read about a character's toilet activities in such detail... is it judgemental for me to chalk that up as something a lad might giggle at? Sorry if it is, but I think Banks made certain aspects of his narrative overtly "male". Frank tries very hard to be seen as a manly man...

I'm not sure my review can do this book justice as I feel reviews shouldn't give too much of the game away. I feel like I could go back to my roots a bit and thoroughly enjoy analysing this book, quotes and bibliography and all! If that isn't praise then I'm not sure what is!

I'm giving this four and a half stars. I'm holding back half a star only because I guessed the ending at almost the very start of the book. Even so, I loved every second.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant and disturbing

Banks at his best. Very dark, very funny, brutally honest and tart writing. Peter Kenny’s narration does justice to Banks' brilliance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • C I H
  • Bath, United Kingdom
  • 16-06-13

A great introduction to Iain Banks

From the first to last page this is a tremendous story,superbly presented , the ideal introduction to Iain Banks the story and descriptions are a master class in presentation....

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Slightly disturbing

I've read 'The Crow Road' by the same author and really enjoyed it, so I thought I'd try another. It's pretty bleak. The main character is slightly unhinged, but his past is revealed in such a matter-of-fact way that it seems the author is suggesting his personality isn't so far from normal. In fact, the whole thing is so far from normal that it loses credibility. I was a bit relieved when I finished it. Good narration, though.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Eduardo
  • 11-03-13

A history of a young psychopath

First of all, this book is about the development of a psychopath. There's violence, sadism and a total lack of empathy. You might feel distressed about it. Personally, I don't have a problem with the underlying subject but caveat emptor and all that.

What I like about the book is the setting and the narration style, both of which are fitting. What I have aproblem with is with the "shallowness" of the writing. I believe it does not develop the characters enough, the story is feeble and flashbacks don't really help. The book reads as characters basically act and react upon "random" events of violence, explained with greater detail than the story itself, and it's difficult to follow a backstory or evolution of the characters.

It's an interesting book if you're interested in the subject and explains how somebody develops that kind of personality disorder, but don't expect an engaging story or psychopaths of the "character quality" of Hannibal Lecter.

I arrived here from Iain's SciFi background, which is incredibly complex, with layers upon layers of interconnected stories, interesting and well developed characters (esp. AIs) and a whole alternate reality to explore. I probably set my own expectations too high based on previous experience but alas, I was disappointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • A. R.
  • 11-06-18

Disturbing and compelling

The story is compelling and made all the more disturbing by the excellent narration. You will come away unsettled...delightfully so!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Dr. E. Rubinstein
  • 18-03-16

very curious story

Held my attention until the end but finally unsatisfying The last chapter lacked conviction excellent narrator

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bender
  • 17-06-15

Mesmerizing

This is a brilliantly written first-person account of a delusional psycho, expertly narrated by Peter Kenny.
Suited for anyone appreciative of originality.