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Summary

Her eyes were black, wide as though with some sustained surprise, the skin from their outer corners to her small ears taut. Her lips were pale, and nearly too full for her small mouth, like something bled but bruised. He had never seen anyone or anything quite so beautiful in his life. Graham Park is in love. But Sara Fitch is an enigma to him, a creature of almost perverse mystery.

Steven Grout is paranoid - and with justice. He knows that They are out to get him. They are. Quiss, insecure in his fabulous if ramshackle castle, is forced to play interminable impossible games. The solution to the oldest of all paradoxical riddles will release him. But he must find an answer before he knows the question. Park, Grout, Quiss - no trio could be further apart. But their separate courses are set for collision.

©1985 Iain Banks (P)2013 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"[A]n extraordinary feat, terrifying and baffling, going far beyond the bounds of fiction as it's usually defined." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Establishes beyond doubt that Iain Banks is a novelist of remarkable talents." ( Daily Telegraph)

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What listeners say about Walking On Glass

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35 years

I started to read this book when I bought it, on the day of its release 35 years ago.
I finished it in double quick (too quick) time and somehow missed it's brilliance.
I'm now 54 years old and I take my time about things. Listening, instead of reading. it is a brilliant book. Iain Banks is the master and I miss him very much.

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Not his best and a little confusing

If you're an Iain Banks fan, then this is worth listening to. If you're an Iain M. Banks fan, then this is also worth a shot, as it's one of his "cross-over" books, much like "Transition".

However, unlike some of his other books, I didn't really warm to any of the main characters and a couple of them positively annoyed me.

It also takes Banks's penchant for leaving things open to interpretation and takes it to an extreme. For my tastes, it really is a little to open ended, with too many possibilities to get any real satisfaction at the books conclusion.

On the good side, it's as well written as you would expect from early Banks and read as excellently as ever by Peter Kenny.

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Unsatisfactory Backs with more than a hint of M

3 different stories, or interpretations of reality?
At least 2 of them collide, but the listener is denied the satisfaction of an explanation in the end, and left to their own interpretation. Many abound in literal circles, but mine is just that it's just too much like life - an unsatisfactory ending.

Well read, though.

1 person found this helpful

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A particular style

as usual, Iain challenges the reader to keep up, dropping you straight into a story to decipher what's going on, it's one of the reasons I love his books, this is a strange tale in 3 parts all odd and all interesting.

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One of my favourite ever books.

Peter Kenny does such a great job of telling and performing this book. Bravo Sir!

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Typical Banks

Simple and yet fascinating. Banks manages to make readers think, with his subtle explorations of various themes such as aging, love and mental illness.

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A big disappointment

Not even the wonderful Peter Kenny could save this one. A rare disappointment from Banks.

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  • Michael Fuchs
  • 24-09-21

Outstanding Stories - Dead End

I really love Iain’s work, and I was typically enchanted and confused by the multiple stories that start out totally unrelated. I was caught up in the evolving stories and their delicate, growing interrelationships. Right up through the penultimate chapter I was thoroughly enjoying the book. Each of the plot lines were really well done. But then… it just ends.

I’m not saying the stories weren’t concluded, but they did not each reach a satisfactory resolution - at least not evenly - and in particular the book did not feel like it provided a consolidated denouement that did justice to the quality of the individual stories.

I will certainly re-read (re-listen) it in the future, and hopefully gain a better appreciation for it. Of the dozen Iain Banks novels I’ve read (and loved) this is unfortunately my least favorite.

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  • Maracapozzi
  • 19-06-21

Weak ending to a good story.

I love pretty much everything by this great author, both literary and science fiction. This story fell short of my expectations. I felt it had a lot of potential, but fizzled in the end. It is certainly still worth reading or listening to.