I am attempting to read more modern classics; Gatsby, The Handmaid’s Tale, Catcher in the Rye. It’s up for debate whether The Crow Road can be included in this list. I’m counting it as I’ve now read it.
The Crow Road – The Blurb
“‘It was the day my grandmother exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach.’
Prentice McHoan has returned to the bosom of his complex but enduring Scottish family. Full of questions about the McHoan past, present and future, he is also deeply preoccupied: mainly with death, sex, drink, God and illegal substances…”
“It was the day my Grandmother exploded” Isn’t that such a good opening liner?
To be honest this was about all I knew about The Crow Road other than it was set in the Highlands in an area not too far from where I normally holiday. Going in to it I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. Trainspotting? Monarch of the Glenn? Very wrong on both parts!
Away The Crow Road
Initially it took me a while to get into the book. Circumstances meant my reading of the first few chapters was very stoppy starty. It would take me a page or two to realise the book had skipped about in time or that the narrative had changed. It flits between present day adult Prentice and his childhood self, with a little bit of his father’s childhood thrown in for good measure. I eventually got to grips with it. and you realise all the little random pieces are there for a reason. So stick with it if you struggle initially.
You begin to realise the book is actually about death. Not in a morbid, depressing way (although some of it is), but how we all face it, deal with it, and live with it. There were family secrets, mysteries and a love story or two. As well as cars, storms and alcohol – lots of it!
What sound can you see?
Prentice’s wit was present throughout it all, inherited perhaps from his father. (the sound you can see is the Sound of Jura by the way!) I genuinely didn’t know where it was going, or how it would turn out, even right near the end which is always a delight. Overall I enjoyed my first experience of Banks and am now interested to read The Wasp Factory his supposed most controversial.