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John Sutherland

18 November 1993
by Iain Banks.
Little, Brown, 313 pp., £15.99, September 1993, 0 316 90688 3
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Against a Dark Background 
by Iain​ M. Banks.
Orbit, 496 pp., £8.99, January 1994, 1 85723 185 6
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... Say ‘IainBanks’ and the person you are talking to will say ‘The Wasp Factory.’ Banks may have as much trouble getting out from under the success of his first novel as did William Golding. It was a memorable debut. The Wasp Factory provoked a moral panic in 1984. The TLS critic called ...

In Charge of the Tuck Shop

Sam Thompson: Iain Banks

22 March 2007
The Steep Approach to Garbadale 
by Iain Banks.
Little, Brown, 390 pp., £17.99, March 2007, 978 0 316 73105 8
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... In interviews, IainBanks has said that his new novel The Steep Approach to Garbadale was first imagined as a fantastical tale of multiple realities, in which characters would find themselves magically trapped inside a board ...


Ian Sansom: Iain Banks

5 December 2013
The Quarry 
by Iain Banks.
Little, Brown, 326 pp., £18.99, June 2013, 978 1 4087 0394 6
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... of family life, or the inevitable complications of the lack of a family life, and the lure of alternative employment. Ignore your inner urges. No man but a blockhead etc. Do anything else. IainBanks was not a blockhead. He was one of the few winners in one of the world’s oldest and most respected winner-takes-all systems. So now that the obituaries have been written and the tributes paid, how ...
7 August 1986
Mating Birds 
by Lewis Nkosi.
Constable, 184 pp., £8.95, July 1986, 0 00 946724 6
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Lost Time 
by Catharine Arnold.
Hodder, 220 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 340 38783 1
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The Bridge 
by Iain Banks.
Macmillan, 259 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 333 41285 0
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Incidents at the Shrine 
by Ben Okri.
Heinemann, 130 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 434 53230 4
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Things fall apart 
by Chinua Achebe.
Heinemann, 150 pp., £3.50, July 1986, 0 435 90526 0
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The Innocents 
by Carolyn Slaughter.
Viking, 219 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 670 81016 9
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... this alteration is only partially or part-plausibly accomplished by Arnold. Her rendering of an overheated imagination, and of accidents that proceed from it, is enhanced, however, by comparison with IainBanks’s treatment of related matters in his new novel. Banks has made a name for himself as an unembarrassable master of the macabre, which he gleefully represented in The Wasp Factory and Walking ...
7 March 1991
by Iain​ Sinclair.
Paladin, 407 pp., £14.99, March 1991, 0 586 09074 6
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... Iain Sinclair, in the profane spirit of Surrealism, has chosen to decorate the endpapers of his new work of fiction with a dozen unutterably strange picture-postcards. They show scenes such as that of six ...
19 November 2015
... If it were​ a race, the first man home – except for IainBanks who won the trophy by a mile – would be Oliver Sacks (announced 19 February – died 30 August), with Henning Mankell (announced 17 January – died 5 October) a close second. Lisa Jardine won a ...

In Fife

Kathleen Jamie

22 April 2015
... the small town in Fife where I live lies a loch called Lochmill. Half a mile long, it occupies a natural bowl in the Ochil hills, and is orientated almost exactly east-west. On its north and south banks grow sparse hawthorns tufted with lichen and old stunted oaks. At its western end, where the springs that feed the loch rise, Scots pines and larches dominate. On winter afternoons they stand ...

Bad News

Iain​ Sinclair

6 December 1990
by John Farrand.
Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 239 pp., $40, June 1990, 1 55670 134 9
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Weather Watch 
by Dick File.
Fourth Estate, 299 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 1 872180 12 4
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Climate Change: The IPCC Scientific Assessment 
edited by J.T. Houghton, G.J. Jenkins and J.J. Ephraums.
Cambridge, 365 pp., £40, September 1990, 9780521403603
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Crop Circles: The Latest Evidence 
by Pat Delgado and Colin Andrews.
Bloomsbury, 80 pp., £5.99, October 1990, 0 7475 0843 7
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The Stumbling Block, Its Index 
by B. Catling.
Book Works, £22, October 1990, 9781870699051
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... families. They age and wither. The deepest, darkest depressions, as they pass overhead, have the capacity of crushing to zero the spirits of fragile, potentially suicidal personalities. Cloud banks absorb the hurt from wounded psyches, become leaden, withhold more of the light. We infect the skies with our own despair. And are infected in return. Unsuspected weather-allergies roam the city like ...

Rodinsky’s Place

Patrick Wright

29 October 1987
White Chappell: Scarlet Tracings 
by Iain​ Sinclair.
Goldmark, 210 pp., £12.50, October 1987, 1 870507 00 2
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... as they confronted the vandalism of private developer and municipal authority. From these beginnings the Trust went on to bring credit facilities into an area which had been ‘red-lined’ by banks and building societies. It emerged as a campaigning property company, able to buy buildings, refurbish them with a care for the minutest period detail, and resell them under covenant. The new ...


Iain​ Sinclair: Ronnie Kray bows out

8 June 1995
... This turnout has been a killing for the car rental mobs, the muscle agencies, the barbers. Who says London refuses to oblige major film productions? Roads closed off, police, colourful extras, banks of cameras: the funeral is a one-day epic with a minimalist performance at its centre. There’s nothing for the uninvited to witness. One hundred and forty ticketed seats barely cover the worldwide ...
5 March 1981
Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... the spectrum were the little-known poets Alexander Rodger and William Thom. In ‘Whisperings for the Unwashed’, Thom is vigorously political, while the radical Rodger opens his satire on savings banks with this: Ho! ye worthless, thriftless trash; Worthless, because ye haenae cash – Thriftless, because ye try to dash             Like your superiors; Come hither, till I lay the lash ...


Iain​ Sinclair: The Thames

25 June 2009
Thames: Sacred River 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Vintage, 608 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 09 942255 6
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... Tyler and, at a later date, the rebels under Jack Cade’. Perkin Warbeck, who features in Marshall’s son et lumière procession, is noticed by Ackroyd in the act of ‘meeting his adherents by the banks of the Ravensbourne’. ‘No other tributary of the Thames,’ he writes, ‘has such a history of insurrection and bloodshed.’ One of the distinguishing features of Ackroyd’s Thames is ...

England’s End

Peter Campbell

7 June 1984
English Journey 
by J.B. Priestley.
Heinemann, 320 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 434 60371 6
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English Journey, or The Road to Milton Keynes 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth/BBC, 158 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 563 20299 8
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Crisis and Conservation: Conflict in the British Countryside 
by Charlie Pye-Smith and Chris Rose.
Penguin, 213 pp., £3.95, March 1984, 0 14 022437 8
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Invisible Country: A Journey through Scotland 
by James Campbell.
Weidenfeld, 164 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 297 78371 8
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Literary Britain 
by Bill Brandt.
Victoria and Albert Museum in association with Hurtwood Press, 184 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 0 905209 66 4
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... and innate character’, and concludes that what he saw fully contradicted none of that, save the ‘lost to history’. It is hard to imagine anyone in England hating the power of the Church as Iain Crichton Smith told Campbell that he did (‘When I see one of those Free Church ministers on the street in Lewis I feel like walking across the road and hitting him in the face ... It’s power they ...

The Colossus of Maroussi

Iain​ Sinclair: In Athens

27 May 2010
... were treated as such: cleaned up, neutered, turned loose. The €9 billion spent on the Olympic party was equivalent to the amount financial experts reckoned investors were syphoning out of Greek banks to bury in Cyprus or Switzerland when the collapse finally came, just as I visited Athens early in 2010. The people I talked to, students, academics, film-makers, all agreed: it had been a monumental ...

The Raging Peloton

Iain​ Sinclair: Boris Bikes

20 January 2011
... Earphones/headphones should not be worn.’ Among Silicon Roundabout professionals on the Tour of Hackney, earphones are obligatory, as much part of the uniform as the upper-case logos of merchant banks, the conspicuous marathon charities, on the tight T-shirts of self-punishing joggers. I interviewed the painter Jock McFadyen, who has been, for many years, a haunter of the towpath, exercising his ...

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