A desperate young man becomes entangled with a Scottish crime family in this “brilliant, irresistible” novel from the author of The Wasp Factory (The New York Times).
Stewart Gilmour is back in Stonemouth, Scotland. An estuary town north of Aberdeen, Stonemouth has a beach that can be beautiful on a sunny day. But on a bleak day, Stonemouth seems to have nothing to offer but fog, cheap drugs, and gangsters—and a suspension bridge that promises a permanent way out.
Stewart got out five years ago. He didn’t jump, he just ran—escaping the Murstons, a local family of mobsters. But now their patriarch has died, and in an uneasy truce, Stewart has returned home for the funeral. His long exile has also kept him away from Ellie Murston, and if he knows what’s good for him, he’ll avoid a reunion—and the topic of his old classmate Callum Murston’s untimely death.
But once he’s back, Stewart steps squarely into the minefield of his past, and as he wrestles with feelings of guilt and loss, he makes some dark discoveries and his homecoming takes a lethal turn. A quick drop into the cold, gray Stoun is starting to look like an option worth considering.
The basis for a BBC series, Stonemouth is a darkly witty, “beguiling” tale of warring clans, broken hearts, brotherhood, and the long, hard process of growing up—if you can stay alive long enough to try (The Guardian).
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About the Author
Iain Banks, whose novels have been published in over thirty languages, is a Scottish writer who writes both mainstream fiction and science fiction. In 2008, the London Times named Banks as one of the fifty greatest writers since 1945.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Stonemouth is a story about Stewart Gilmour, a man who is returning to his home town of Stonemouth, Scotland to attend a funeral. Stewart had to leave town five years earlier, after he got himself into a little hot water with one of the town’s powerful crime families. I have read more than a dozen books written by Iain (M) Banks. If this was the first book I had read by him I probably wouldn’t have been eager to read any of his other books. Though there were a few redeeming factors about Stonemouth that kept me from giving it two stars instead of the three that it received. The story was good enough to keep me reading and wondering what was going to happen next, and what had happened in the past. When I finished the book Stewart seemed like a real person to me (I found myself wishing him the best of luck). There was also a conversation between Stewart and another character about how the events of the past could have happened, several of which surprised me and made prefect sense. I really liked this conversation, it was the only part that felt like I was reading a Banks book. I found Stonemouth to be predictable and parts of the story felt awkward and forced, making the flow of the story choppy. There were times in the story that Stewart, sometimes drunk and sometimes sober, had thoughts about global warming, politics, religion and the darker side of human nature. Many books by Banks have similar subjects as an undercurrent and were done well and flowed in the story. However, in Stonemouth they sounded more like a rant and felt out of place. The thing that bothered me most about Stonemouth was what appeared to be, for lack of a better term, a product placement for Apple computers and the iPhone. When Stewart loses his iPhone he has to replace it with what is referred to for the rest of the book as a “rubbish” phone. And Stewart comments how he can’t wait to get to an Apple store to replace his good phone. When Stewart has to use his dad’s computer he comments on how it felt like preschool compared to his Apple. Three Stars but not recommended.