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The Wasp Factory

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9780349147161

Price: £16.99

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40th anniversary edition of Iain Banks’ classic debut novel THE WASP FACTORY, with an introduction by Neil Gaiman

‘A gothic horror story of quite exceptional quality’ Financial Times

‘Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different 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 I was going through.’

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

Praise for Iain Banks:

‘The most imaginative novelist of his generation’ The Times

‘His verve and talent will always be recognised, and his work will always find and enthral new readers’ Ken MacLeod, Guardian

‘His work was mordant, surreal, and fiercely intelligent’ Neil Gaiman

‘An exceptional wordsmith’ Scotsman


As a piece of writing, The Wasp Factory soars to the level of mediocrity. Maybe the crassly explicit language, the obscenity of the plot, were thought to strike an agreeably avant-garde note. Perhaps it is all a joke, meant to fool literary London into respect for rubbish
The Times
A first novel not only of tremendous promise, but also of achievement, a minor masterpiece, perhaps. There is no label. It is an obsessive novel, a bad dream of a book. Death and blood and gore fill the pages, lightened only by the dark humour, the surreal touches, and the poetry of the thing. There is something foreign and nasty here, an amazing new talent
One of the top 100 novels of the century
A brilliant book, barmy and barnacled with the grotesque
New Statesman
There is no denying the bizarre fertility of the author's imagination: his brilliant dialogue, his cruel humour, his repellent inventiveness. The majority of the literate public, however, will be relieved that only reviewers are obliged to look at any of it
Irish Times
If you are squeamish or easily frightened, then leave The Wasp Factory severely alone. The novel is saved from sheer beastliness by its black humour and its message. Read it if you dare
Daily Express
Iain Banks has written one of the most brilliant first novels I have come across for some time. His study of an obsessive personality is extraordinary, written with a clarity and attention to detail that is most impressive. One can only admire a truly remarkable novel
Daily Telegraph
A gothic horror story of quite exceptional quality... macabre, bizarre and... quite impossible to put down. There is a control and assurance in the book, an originality rare in established writers twice the author's age. This is an outstandingly good read
Financial Times
A first novel of such curdling power and originality that whether you like it or not - and you may hate it - the arrival of its author Iain Banks must mark the literary debut of the year. It's astonishing, unsettling and brilliantly written
If a nastier, more vicious or distasteful novel appears this spring, I shall be surprised. But there is unlikely to be a better one either. You can hardly breathe for fear of missing a symbol, or a fine phrase, or a horror so chilling that your hair stands on end. Infinitely painful to read, grotesque but human, these pages have a total reality rare in fiction. A mighty imagination has arrived on the scene
Mail on Sunday
Brilliant... irresistible... compelling
New York Times